Choosing a renewable home for Viking, our new and improved high performance compute facility.

Project overview 

The University has invested £2.5m to build a new Viking high-performance compute facility. This facility is significantly bigger than the previous system, and will allow us to undertake more research for the public good.

Viking is used to complete high performance computing tasks and supports research and teaching at the University. At least £20m worth of research grants is associated with our previous high-performance compute facility in Leeds. 

High-performance computing (HPC) however consumes a lot of energy and produces a lot of heat.

To tackle this problem, we have moved our computer cluster to EcoDataCenter in Sweden.

Everything about EcoDataCenter is designed to reduce the CO2 footprint. It is the world’s first data centre to be made from wood and runs on 100% renewable energy; 75% from hydropower and 25% from wind power.  

The data centre uses the heat created by the computer clusters to dry wood and create pellets which are a renewable energy source. EcoDataCenter is dedicated to building data centers in the most sustainable way possible to support the world's increased need for digitalisation and sustainability. This means our research computing is not only net-zero but has minimal environmental impact as most of the heat is re-used. 

To help in the transition from our previous HPC facility to EcoDataCenter, we purchased time on a small data centre from start-up Deep Green. The excess heat created by the data centre is used to heat a public swimming pool. Read more about Deep Green and how the data centre works.


The new facility went live at the end of October 2023. 


The increased capacity of Viking 2 will allow us to complete more research for public good, strengthening our position as one of the world's premier institutions for inspirational and life-changing research. Viking is free for all members of staff to use.


Current high energy costs would have made it difficult to purchase and run a computer cluster the size that we need. Staying at our old facility would have meant having to use a smaller cluster than Viking 2. 

Moving to EcoDataCenter was not only more cost effective, providing us with an increased capacity cluster for a reduced price compared to staying at our old facility, but it also allows us to take a sustainable approach to our research computing. We are one of the first universities to do this, leading the sector in sustainable high performance computing.


The benefits of the project include:

  • research computing which has minimal impact on the environment 
  • heat created by our compute clusters helps to create a renewable energy source 
  • an improved service for users
  • increased capacity means we can undertake more research for the public good 
  •  we are leading the sector in sustainable high performance computing.

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