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University IT Service Catalogue


HPCS Darwin CPU Cluster

Information For Users Of The Service Catalogue

The University IT Service Catalogue will be decommissioned in the Summer of 2021. This website is no longer being maintained.  

For the most up-to-date information regarding IT Services at the University of Cambridge, please visit:

The Darwin CPU cluster was a large high performance computing resource for use by the University of Cambridge research community. Users from all disciplines within the University and of all levels of experience are welcomed. It is a suitable platform for both large, parallel computation and high throughput workload. Now replaced by the Wilkes2 and Peta4 systems.

Features and Benefits

Features & Benefits 

The Darwin CPU cluster connects a large number of computer nodes with a high bandwidth, low latency fabric, resulting in large computing capacity and minimal delays between processing and output. It provides flexible, robust and responsive computing for large-scale applications. The Darwin cluster  

  • maintains a uniform, standard user environment based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • provides improved per CPU performance through vendor-optimised scientific libraries and compilers
  • provides scalable and efficient storage through the use of Lustre filesystems

Darwin users have access to support by a team of HPC experts.

How Much Does It Cost?

How much does it cost? 

Two levels of service are available:

  • a free service, with relatively restrictive per-job resource limits and a cap on total usage per quarter, or
  • fee-paying by core hour credit, with higher scheduling priority, less restrictive per-job resource limits, and no quarterly limitations

Core hour credits at internal University rates can be purchased by sending a purchase order to UIS.

The internal rate for University of Cambridge users at the time of writing (1st February 2016) is 1.2p per CPU core hour on Darwin.

Please request your department to raise a purchase order and send it (marked clearly with the name of your project) to:

The Finance Manager
University Information Services
Roger Needham Building
7 JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge CB3 0RB

How Do I Get This Service?

How do I get this service? 

University users should complete and submit the Raven-protected online form on the page Applying for resources.

How Quickly Can I Get This Service?

How quickly can I get this service? 

The lead time for obtaining an account on Darwin is a maximum of a week, subject to authorisation by the applicant's Principal Investigator.

Support Details & Contact Information

Support Details & Contact Information 

If you have submitted an application for resources on the new Darwin system and have heard nothing after one week, or for any other support, please contact the team via

Tel: 01223 (7)63517

(for opening times, see Supported Service Hours)

Available Service Hours

When is this service available? 

The service is available 24/7.

Supported Service Hours

Supported Service Hours 

The service is supported:

Monday - Friday: 8.30am - 5pm

(excluding UK Bank Holidays and University closures)

Service for:

Service supplier