- HPC Wales will stimulate innovation and research and development
- Boost business
- Develop specialist skills
- Attract inward investment
High Performance Computing Wales (HPC Wales) is a £40million five year project to give businesses and universities involved in commercially focussed research across Wales access to the most advanced and evolving computing technology available.
HPC Wales will invest in state-of-the-art computing technology, infrastructure and facilities on a pan-Wales basis, high level skills development and training and provide tailor made support services to business.
The availability of this technology is set to have a major impact on the economy, on business competitiveness, on innovation, high value R&D in higher education institutions and skills development. It is set to create more than 400 jobs across key industry sectors.
With support of £24 million from the Welsh Assembly Government, including from the EU Convergence programmes and £10m from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), HPC Wales will give Wales a supercomputing capacity and network at a scale not attempted anywhere else in the UK or Europe.
High performance computing technology has the capacity to handle and analyse massive amounts of data at high speed.
Tasks that can take months using normal computers can be done in days or even minutes. It is used to model and solve highly complex problems across a range of high value sectors.
Uses are diverse and examples include facial reconstruction modelling, animated graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, petroleum exploration, car crash simulations, airflows over aircraft wings, data mining and storage and visualisation.
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Minister for the Economy and Transport, said HPC Wales would play a key role in delivering Economic Renewal – a New Direction announced last week.
“One key objective of ERP is to adjust our £240m economic development budget so that it's focused more on developing the right skills for our workforce and to encourage world-class research and development – which mirror the objectives of HPC Wales.”
Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills with the Welsh Assembly Government said,
“The scale of the project is ambitious and will reach all four corners of Wales”
“It will speed up innovation from research carried out in Welsh Universities through to commercial market ready products. It will also have a major impact on high level skills development and training and put Wales right up there as an international player in the world of computational research.
“The distributed nature and scale of the project, plus the open access to business, makes it unique in its scale, nature and ambition.”
The cutting-edge computing facilities will be available for use by businesses working independently or in collaboration with academics and will establish Wales as a key international centre for specialist computational research.
Funding for the project comes from the following:
- £19m from ERDF and ESF European funds channelled through WEFO
- £10m from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
- £4m from collaborating institutions
- £5m from the Welsh Assembly Government/ HEFCW
- £2m private sector and research income
The £40m investment will cover infrastructure development, equipment, software research, management and operational costs over the first five year to 2015 when HPC Wales will become self supporting and sustainable.
HPC Wales consists of three elements: investment in high performance computing equipment, infrastructure and pan-Wales distribution networks ; a training academy to develop high performance computing skills, and an institute to provide high level technical services to support research and economic activities.
The main computer hubs for HPC Wales will be in Cardiff and Swansea, linked to spokes at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Glamorgan Universities, University of Wales Alliance Universities and Technium business innovation centres around Wales.
HPC Wales will be managed by a charitable, not-for-profit organisation set up by the St David’s Day Group of Universities and the University of Wales Alliance.
Professor Noel Lloyd, chair of Higher Education Wales and vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said,
“This is tremendous for Wales, both in terms of research capacity and the ways in which the Higher Education sector can work in collaboration to provide opportunities and training for business.
“Universities have crucial contributions to make at local, Wales-wide, UK and international levels and the enhancements offered by this project will further our already important contribution to economic development.
“HPC Wales is also an excellent example of higher education institutions in Wales collaborating to achieve a common goal. This project would not have been possible without the commitment of many people working both within higher education and the Welsh Assembly Government. The teamwork and cooperation has been outstanding and an excellent indicator for the future.”
Professor Ian Cluckie, Swansea University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Science and Engineering, said
“Swansea University is proud to be working closely with Cardiff University and the other higher education institutions - in what is a pan-Wales development.
“It will ensure that researchers, students and businesses have access to state-of-the-art, high performance computing, that is required to undertake the internationally recognised research that drives the knowledge economy and underpins the Welsh agenda in crucial sectors such as health, science, engineering and advanced manufacturing.
“HPC Wales is an all-Wales development and an example of collaboration across the HE Sector.”
More than 100 innovation collaborative projects between universities and industry have already been identified that would benefit from HPC technology.
These range from modelling and simulating medical implants to analysing satellite images for monitoring environmental change. In the vanguard will be projects that impact on the Welsh Assembly’s priority industry sectors.
Deputy Minister Lesley Griffiths added,
“HPC Wales has potential to bring about real change. It will have a significant impact on the economy, on increasing R&D, on driving innovation and competitiveness and high-level skills development.”