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Supercomputing programme launches in Wales

12 October 2018

Karen Holford

A £15m project aimed at making Wales a leader in high-performance computing and big data is officially underway after a launch event at the Senedd.

The Cardiff University-led project, Supercomputing Wales, will bring together the universities of Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth to develop cutting-edge research projects using state-of-the-art computing facilities.

The project has been funded with £9m through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government, which has been matched by a multi-million-pound investment from the university partners.

The money will fund two supercomputing hubs based in Cardiff and Swansea which will be fitted with a full suite of the latest high-performance computing equipment and software, provided by Atos and Dell EMC.

The partnership between Supercomputing Wales, Atos and Dell EMC will create a world-first Supercomputing Centre of Excellence.

Research Software Engineers will work with researchers from across the consortium to develop algorithms and customised software that harnesses the power of the supercomputing facilities, to perform multiple computational tasks simultaneously at very high speeds.

At Cardiff University the Gravitational Physics Group, who recently announced the ground-breaking first ever detection of gravitational waves as part of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), will benefit from the facilities.

In coming years, gravitational waves will allow researchers to examine the cores of exploding stars and probe the structure of neuron 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.

Speaking before the launch at the Senedd, Professor Roger Whitaker, Academic Director for Supercomputing Wales and researcher in the School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: “Supercomputing Wales will unlock the world-class research capabilities we have here in Wales, placing the country on a firm competitive footing worldwide."

Gavin Thomson Senior Vice President, Big Data & Security UK&I, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Atos said: “We are delighted to be involved with Supercomputing Wales to create the world's first Supercomputing Centre of Excellence. Together, working with our technology partner Dell EMC we are helping to build on Wales’ ambitions of becoming a dynamic and world-class digital economy. The country is well on its way to achieving this aspiration, and this will only accelerate Wales’s position as a leader in supercomputing research.”

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