University of Cardiff Selects Lenovo & Logicalis to Boost HPC Cluster Unlocking The Mysteries of Black Holes

The University’s Advanced Research Computing at Cardiff (ARCCA) service is using Lenovo ThinkSystem servers to power globally important high-performance computing research.

  • Compute performance available to researchers increased by100%
  • Cluster exceeds initial performance benchmarks by 46%

January 24, 2024 – Cardiff, UK – The University of Cardiff’s “Advanced Research Computing @Cardiff” (ARCCA) service is now using 90 Lenovo ThinkSystem servers to boost the performance of its high performance computing (HPC) cluster by 100%, helping to power groundbreaking research into the origins of the universe and star formation. Cardiff’s high-end research computing service chose to work with Logicalis and the Lenovo ThinkSystem platform to boost the capabilities of its Hawk HPC cluster which offers access to supercomputing tools and resources to tackle complex research problems in fields as diverse as astrophysics and life sciences.

Lenovo and Logicalis deliver HPC resources for two research groups at Cardiff, including one that could change our understanding of the universe, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration. For more than 15 years, ARCCA has been one of the largest HPC providers for the global research project LIGO, which aims to detect gravitational waves, ripples in space-time created by collisions between black holes. For the LIGO project, led by Professor Stephen Fairhurst, Lenovo provided 75 Lenovo ThinkSystem SR645 servers ahead of LIGO’s fourth two-year gravitational wave detection run. The new solution doubles the compute performance available to researchers and exceeds initial performance benchmarks by ~46%, allowing researchers to process detection events and share data faster. The LIGO project won the HPCwire Readers’ Award for ‘Best Use of HPC For Scientific Research’.

A second research group at Cardiff University studying star formation, led by Dr. Ana Duarte Cabral, Royal Society University Research Fellow is to use 15 Lenovo ThinkSystem SR630 servers with two Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 servers for storage. With the system funded by the Royal Society, the group’s research focuses on the creation of stars in spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way, requiring computationally demanding simulations of full galaxies.

Man in dark server room with blue and red lights

Ian Jeffs, General Country Manager, UK&I, at Lenovo says, ‘The LIGO project is a prime example of how supercomputing can broaden humanity’s understanding, and Lenovo is proud to be involved in this globally important research, enabling scientists to share their discoveries faster.

‘Supported by Lenovo ThinkSystem technology, ARCCA can now deliver even more computing power to fuel hugely important projects such as LIGO and the Royal Society’s star formation study, as well as research across a wide range of other scientific fields.’

Professor Martyn Guest from Advanced Research Computing, Cardiff University said, ‘To help the LIGO and star-formation research teams achieve their objectives, we had to move fast, as the funding for both projects was time-sensitive.

‘We were working to extremely tight funding deadlines, and while other vendors quoted us nine-month lead times for delivery, Lenovo and Logicalis truly understood the urgency. They never stopped pushing to help us complete the projects on time and within budget.’

Andy Griffiths, Business Unit Director at Logicalis UK&I, added “Advanced workloads and technologies are now driving exciting focus around High Performance Computing for Logicalis. As we continue to invest in specialist HPC skills & capabilities, we are delighted to be working with Cardiff University and ARCCA to support ground-breaking projects such as LIGO.”

“The success of this project and recognition through the Global HPC Wire Award is testament to the outstanding work being delivered by the whole team across ARCCA, Logicalis and Lenovo.”

Team holding awards under HPCWire sign at expo
L-R: Kate Steele, Lenovo, David Simpson, Dr Jon Lockley, Professor Martyn Guest, ARCCA, Cardiff University, Tom Tabor, Tabor Communications, Rebecca Broad, Lenovo, Chris Coates, Logicalis, Thomas Green, ARCCA, Cardiff University

Powering cutting-edge research

Working with Logicalis, ARCCA selected Lenovo ThinkSystem servers to deliver optimal HPC performance for the two research groups. Lenovo and Logicalis offered ARCCA a combination of cutting-edge Lenovo HPC hardware, powered by AMD Epyc 7443 processors with simultaneous multi-threading, along with cloud-native Ubiquity software to integrate the new Lenovo hardware seamlessly into the Hawk cluster. This allowed ARCCA to automate management tasks, allowing research software engineers to focus their efforts on science. The chosen solution offered the perfect ratio of price to performance when dealing with high throughput computing and parallelised workloads.

To find out more about this project, read more here.


About Lenovo

Lenovo is a US$62 billion revenue global technology powerhouse, ranked #217 in the Fortune Global 500, employing 77,000 people around the world, and serving millions of customers every day in 180 markets. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, Lenovo has built on its success as the world’s largest PC company by further expanding into growth areas that fuel the advancement of ‘New IT’ technologies (client, edge, cloud, network, and intelligence) including server, storage, mobile, software, solutions, and services. This transformation together with Lenovo’s world-changing innovation is building a more inclusive, trustworthy, and smarter future for everyone, everywhere. Lenovo is listed on the stock exchange of Hong Kong under Lenovo Group Limited (HKSE: 992)(ADR: LNVGY). To find out more visit, and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.


About Logicalis

Logicalis is a UK-based, international provider of provider of digital transformation services. 

With over 7000 staff, based in 30 global territories, Logicalis work with more than 10,000 clients across a range of industry sectors, to create sustainable outcomes through industry-leading technologies and technical excellence.

As “Architects of Change”, the focus at Logicalis is to design, support, and execute customers’ digital transformation by bringing together their vision with its technological expertise and industry insights. The company, through its deep knowledge of key IT industry drivers such as Security, Cloud, Data Management and High Performance Computing (HPC) addresses customer priorities such as revenue and business growth, operational efficiency, innovation, risk and compliance, data governance and sustainability.

Ongoing strategic investment in the UK-based HPC Team is focused on supporting the world’s leading scientific research organisations with industry-leading HPC knowledge, experience and technical innovation.

Logicalis has annualized revenues of $1.7 billion, from operations in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa.


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