Supercomputer at Daresbury Laboratory STFC p Butler Bancroft

Aew Architects is the construction architect on the supercomputing centre. Credit: STFC

Work starts on £30m Daresbury supercomputing centre

Main contractor Russell WBHO has broken ground on the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s project, which will serve as an artificial intelligence and quantum technology resource for Daresbury Laboratory.

The 33,000 sq ft supercomputing centre will sit on 6 acres near the Bridgewater Canal and within the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus. When Russell WBHO landed the contract in November, the company estimated that construction would take 21 months.

The £30m facility will support the £210m National Centre for Digital Innovation programme, which is a partnership between IBM and STFC’s Hartree Centre at Daresbury Laboratory. Having access to a supercomputing centre will enable digital innovation teams to reduce the time and costs required to develop products.

Supercomputer facility team photo Hartree Centre and STFC p STFC

The Hartree Centre team at the groundbreaking ceremony for the supercomputing facility. Credit: via STFC

“This is an incredibly exciting day for the Hartree Centre, and we are fully committed to providing an environment where UK science and businesses can be at the very forefront of global research and development in the very latest digital technologies,” said Kate Royse, director of the Hartree Centre.

Royse continued: “Providing access to technologies, such as AI and quantum computing, enables businesses to increase productivity and achieve success, to the benefit of our economy, both here in the North West and nationally.”

Russell WBHO is working alongside M&E consultant Sudlows, project manager Arcadis, structural engineer Healy Consulting, and environmental consultancy E3P to deliver the supercomputing centre. Aew is the construction project architect, while Stride Treglown was the planning architect for the project.

Nick Sunderland, commercial director at Russell WBHO, said: “A project of this complexity requires close collaboration of all partners and stakeholders and the highly specialist team we’ve put together is committed to exceeding client expectations throughout.

“We’re all extremely proud to be leading the delivery of this important new facility for the Hartree Centre and to be getting the project underway.”

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