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Supercomputing Wales

Project description

Supercomputing Wales is a £15m programme of investment, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, enabling Wales to compete globally for research and innovation projects that require access to supercomputing facilities.

The programme includes investment in upgraded supercomputer hubs at Cardiff and Swansea and the recruitment of a group of Research Software Engineers who will be embedded within academic research teams.  They will work to develop customised software that harnesses the supercomputing facility to perform multiple computational tasks simultaneously at very high speeds.

Delivery model

Supercomputing Wales supports a diverse range of research activities across Wales that require the use of the supercomputing facilities.  The five-year project will be delivered by a consortium of Welsh universities, led by Cardiff University, along with Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea universities.

At Cardiff University, the Gravitational Physics Group who in 2015 announced the first ever detection of gravitational waves as part of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) consortium will benefit from the upgraded facilities. In the coming years, gravitational waves will allow researchers to peer into the cores of exploding stars and probe the structure of neutron stars, potentially revealing completely new and unexpected phenomena that will challenge our current understanding of the universe. The Cardiff University-led Wales Gene Park will also take advantage of the facilities, helping to advance its cutting-edge research that provides understanding, diagnosis and treatment of a wide-range of inherited diseases and cancer.

At Swansea University, the facilities will support Bloodhound – the world’s first 1,000 mph car – with the facilities used to simulate the car’s behaviour at unprecedented high speeds. Swansea University will also use the facilities to generate the global information needed for weather forecasting and improve models of the climate, with algorithms developed by the University used by the UK Met Office as part of its daily forecast.

At Aberystwyth University, the facilities will be used to support research projects including DNA sequencing for plant breeding, and the ‘Big Data’ challenges of earth observations, with the facilities used to analyse high-resolution satellite imagery to assess land cover and vegetation; whilst at Bangor University, the facilities will support tidal energy and oceanographic projects, with opportunities for interaction with the ERDF funded SEACAMS 2 project.

Essential eligibility criteria

The project will benefit Cardiff in the South East of Wales and also Ceredigion, Gwynedd, and Swansea.

Specific targets

  • Enhancing the computational research infrastructure facilities in Wales, with two upgraded supercomputing hubs in Cardiff and Swansea universities serving research projects at the consortium universities, supported by a specialist technical team.
  • Increasing the amount of grant income captured by the university partners, based on investment achieved through relevant supercomputing research proposals benefiting from the investment in the facilities and associated support infrastructure.
  • Increasing the number of researchers working within the upgraded research infrastructure facilities.
  • Increasing the number of enterprises cooperating with the research institutions on supercomputing-enabled collaborative projects.

Contact details

Name: Owain Huw
Email: HuwO1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone: 029 2087 9569
Address: Supercomputing Wales, Data Innovation Research Institute, Cardiff University, Trevithick Building, The Parade, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Website: Website
Twitter: Twitter

Progress

Progress to end June 2017

  • Recruitment of a network of highly skilled Research Software Engineers across Wales
  • Development of a national specialist technical team to support the supercomputing facilities
  • Planning for the upgrade of the supercomputing hub facilities at Cardiff and Swansea in 2018