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Research Enablement

Prof Martyn Guest

Welcome to an overview of some of the world-leading research enabled by Cardiff University's Advanced Research Computing @ Cardiff (ARCCA) Division. This review takes the place of a more traditional Annual Report, and will be further updated as the range of services provided by ARCCA is enhanced and the breath and impact of the enabled research develops.

In this review, you can read more about the progress of ARCCA, and the support the Division offers to the University's researchers and academics in enabling them to undertake ever more complex and data-intensive research.

ARCCA is now a firmly established part of the Research infrastructure of the University, providing support to more than 100 projects involving 360 researchers in 18 Schools, plus IT infrastructure services to other facilities, including the Wales Research & Diagnostic Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Centre (PETIC). As the ARCCA user community has evolved, the services have been developed to meet these new needs, resulting in a rich portfolio of research support options.

The ARCCA data centre houses one of the greenest High Performance Computing clusters in the UK, winning several accolades for its exceptional environmental performance. Perhaps more gratifying, however, is the extensive range of research that the ARCCA services and staff continue to enable. The initial survey of research outcomes (Publications, White Papers, Presentations, Theses, funded Research Projects etc.) conducted in Q3/2009 demonstrated that in the first year of service, the ARCCA facilities were comparable with national facilities in terms of research outputs. We have just completed collating this information for 2010/11, the results of which show this growth trend is continuing. As we will show, the figure of 147 research outcomes in September 2009 has grown to 501 in April 2011. The majority of this research would not have been possible without the University having the vision to invest and establish ARCCA. We note that these figures compare favourably with those from comparable facilities in Russell Group Universities and with other facilities at Cardiff e.g. CUBRIC.

Approximately 55% of the current research community are research staff with the remaining 45% either Undergraduate/Graduate (MSc/PhD) students – a direct recommendation from the University to foster Advanced Research Computing within the student and early researcher community.

Over the last year, the ARCCA team has become heavily involved in the new HPC (High Performance Computing) Wales project. HPC Wales will establish the first High Performance Computing Hub for the all-Wales University supercomputing collaboration at Cardiff, enabling Welsh businesses to access some of the most advanced computer technology and research skills at these universities. The work in ARCCA to establish this project promises to enable some outstanding research, which would have been impossible without the supercomputing expertise provided by the Division.

Finally we should point out the crucial role that our colleagues within Information Services play in delivering the services provided by ARCCA, and we continue to work in close partnership to provide a joined-up support service for the University community.


Professor Martyn Guest

Director, Advanced Research Computing @ Cardiff (ARCCA)