Supercomputing firm Cray has announced a partnership with Microsoft Azure to help bring high performance computing (HPC) to a wider audience.

The partnership will allow Microsoft to distribute the supercomputing capabilities of Cray to enterprise organisations that tackle tasks requiring high levels of performance, such as climate modelling, precision medicine, energy, manufacturing, and other scientific research.

The two firms will achieve this by offering dedicated Cray supercomputing systems in Microsoft Azure data centres, enabling artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and modelling ability at scale.

According to Cray, its tightly coupled system architecture and Aries interconnect addresses an exponential demand for compute capability, real-time insights, and scalable performance.

Those who use the service will get a Cray XC or CS series supercomputers in Azure to run HPC and AI applications alongside their other cloud workloads directly on the Azure network. According to Microsoft, these systems will be easy to integrate with various Azure services, including virtual machines, data lake storage, as well as its AI and machine learning platforms.

In terms of applications of the partnership, Cray states that the availability of supercomputing on Azure will give researchers, scientists and analysts the ability to perform functions such as deep learning in significantly less time.

This could be useful in fields like medical imaging and the development of autonomous vehicles. It may also drive progress in precision medicine, particularly in genome sequencing. Supercomputing also has applications in crash simulation, maintenance, geophysics and seismic testing.

Cray argues that its alliance with Azure means these functions can now be performed in ‘days and minutes, not months and weeks.’ Cray president and CEO, Peter Ungaro, said: “Our partnership with Microsoft will introduce Cray supercomputers to a whole new class of customers that need the most advanced computing resources to expand their problem-solving capabilities, but want this new capability available to them in the cloud.

“Dedicated Cray supercomputers in Azure not only give customers all of the breadth of features and services from the leader in enterprise cloud, but also the advantages of running a wide array of workloads on a true supercomputer.”

Azure corporate VP, Jason Zander, commented: “By working with Cray to provide dedicated supercomputers in Azure, we are offering customers uncompromising performance and scalability that enables a host of new previously unimaginable scenarios in the public cloud.”