FOUR WELSH UNIVERSITIES will receive a total of £9m from the European Regional Development Fund for a supercomputing programme.
The five-year programme dubbed 'Supercomputing Wales', will be led by Cardiff University, with Aberystwyth University, Bangor University and Swansea University as its partners. The £9m investment will be contributed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh government and will be supported by a multi-million pound investment by the four universities.
The aim, according to the Welsh government, is to provide access to powerful computing capabilities to use in existing science and innovation projects in Wales, so that it can capture more research funding, increase scientific partnerships, create highly-skilled research jobs and support collaborations with industrial and other partners.
Some of the investment will be put towards to upgraded supercomputer hubs in Cardiff and Swansea, which will employ research software engineers and research teams with specific domain expertise to develop algorithms and customised software that exploits the supercomiputing facilities to perform multiple computational tasks at the same time, at high speeds.
Existing projects that may be able to benefit from the investment include the Gravitational Physics Group in Cardiff University, who last year announced the first ever detection of gravitational waves, and the Wales Gene Park, a research organisation that aims to understand, diagnose and treat a wide-range of inherited diseases and cancer.
The facilities will also support Swansea University's ‘Bloodhound Project' which aims to create the world's first 1,000 mph car, as well as Aberystwyth University's DNA sequencing for plant breeding project, and its big data earth observations programme.
"Supercomputing Wales is a significant investment that represents a major step forward for Wales, contributing towards competitiveness in science, engineering and innovation," said Cardiff University's professor Roger Whitaker, director of Supercomputing Wales.
"This programme of investment will ensure that Welsh university research teams have access to facilities to undertake world-class research and to develop new collaborative projects with industrial and other partners," he stated. µ
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