Service Description

High Performance Computing refers to the practice of aggregating commodity computers so as to provide a parallel processing environment for solving problems that would take too long on a desktop. Maxwell is the High Performance Computer Cluster that is hosted in the Edward Wright Data Centre. The HPC service supports research which require extensive computing power. Scientific Linux is the operating system that controls Maxwell.


  • A Linux based distributed high performance computer cluster.
  • It allows users access to free and commercial software.


  • All registered members of staff, including honorary members of staff.
  • Research postgraduate students when authorised by their supervisor.
  • External (e.g. consultants, visitors, etc.) when collaborating with University Staff.

Service Hours

  • 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, excluding scheduled downtimes.
  • There will be scheduled downtimes - prior warning of a at least a week shall be given, except in exceptional circumstances.

Level of Service

  • The service runs using a queuing algorithm - which is basically first come, first served, but prioritisation is based on the use made in the previous week of the cluster.
  • Support for the service is available through email during normal working hours.
  • The user home directory is backed up. The scratch partition is NOT backed up.
  • Users are currently restricted to 100 cores at any one time.

Support and Documentation

Request Process

User Responsibility


Where required to support a funded research project, costs for HPC should be included in grant applications. 

Limited free use (up to 1,000 core-hours) is available for small projects; unfunded PGR projects, testing or familiarisation with the service, and for those who wish to assess the suitability of the service prior to applying for funding.

Costs for using the HPC are as follows: 

  • Standard use of the HPCC costs 10p per core-hour of CPU (any nodes)
  • Standard support, including training (½ day) and documentation, is included at no additional charge 
  • Additional support, including installation and troubleshooting of bespoke applications, is charged at £350 per day in ¼ day increments
  • Additional storage beyond the standard allocation is charged at £3,200 per terabyte including backups, for the duration of the project
  • Use of specialist nodes (e.g. Tesla/Phi GPGPU) is available on request