EPSRC made a strategic decision in 2016 to invest in renewing the Tier-2 layer of HPC centres. From this, EPSRC awarded £20 million to 6 HPC centres across the UK, the details of which can be found here.
As part of the investment, the EPSRC encouraged centres to explore novel technologies, and to provide research software engineering (RSE) support to users to enable them to explore those technologies. Different centres responded to this encouragement in different ways. New technologies are prevalent across the centres (e.g. including ARM64 processors, Intel Xeon Phi and nVidia P100 accelerators). In addition, many centres are providing dedicated RSEs to support code porting and software development. Different models will be employed at different centres to gain access to RSE support. As part of providing a coherent layer, the different centres are working together with the RSE-N and UKRSE to create a Tier-2 champions scheme. This will allow RSEs at different centres to share knowledge and training materials, and will provide a single website that will summarise the documentation, training and RSE support available at each centre. By working together and sharing information, duplication of effort at different Tier-2 centres will be avoided, and lessons learned can be quickly disseminated. Most importantly, HPC training and access, particularly on novel architectures, will be made available in a coherent manner to the whole UK research community.