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HPC introduction


High Performance Computing (HPC) provides researchers with the ability to expand their data processing, simulation and computation across hundreds of cores.

Over recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of HPC systems available for researchers and this has led to widespread use across many disciplines.

The HPC cluster at QMUL runs Linux. For a brief introduction on the Linux operating system, please see here.

Architecture of an HPC Cluster

The basic architecture of a cluster consists of login nodes which allow access and submission of jobs to a scheduler, jobs are then dispatched to compute nodes for execution.

Due to the need for high performance, nodes are connected with high speed ethernet or low-latency InfiniBand.

Cluster Diagram

You may also learn more in our Introduction to HPC 1/2 and Introduction to HPC 2/2 videos.

HPC Tiers

Clusters are separated into three tiers in the UK: Tier 3 Local facilities, Tier 2 Specialist Hubs, and the Tier 1 National service.

Tier 3 - Local


Apocrita is the local cluster at QMUL, we have a variety of nodes and allow access to QMUL users and collaborators. See HPC Compute Nodes for information.

Tier 2 - High Performance Computing Centres

We have access to a number of EPSRC Tier 2 clusters via consortium membership. These clusters are suitable for larger multi-node parallel jobs. The Tier 2 pages have more information.

Tier 1 - National

ARCHER2 is the UK National supercomputing service. The documentation, and information on setting up an account is available here.


Host Institution Cores Nodes RAM per Node Scheduler
Edinburgh 750,080 5680 256GB Slurm