£15 million supercomputing programme for Wales unveiled

A £15 million programme to establish Wales as a world leader in supercomputing and big data technologies has been unveiled.

Supercomputing Wales, led by Cardiff University in partnership with Aberystwyth University, Bangor University and Swansea University, will deliver data analytics to researchers and industrial partners across the nation.

The project is being funded by £9 million from the  European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government, along with multi-million-pound investment from the universities.

As part of the programme, new supercomputing hubs in Cardiff and Swansea will be opened to offer state-of-the-art research facilities and bring together technology experts.

Under the agreement, Atos will work with Dell EMC to create a full suite of high-performance computing equipment, software and services. This will be made available to research software engineers.

Each university will use the facilities for different research areas. For instance, Cardiff University has plans to investigate exploding stars, and Swansea University will attempt to create the world’s first 1,000 mph car.

Professor Roger Whitaker, of Cardiff University and academic director for Supercomputing Wales, said: “Supercomputing Wales will unlock the world-class research capabilities we have here in Wales, placing the country on a firm competitive footing worldwide.

“The programme will support large-scale research proposals that demonstrate the degree of ambition called for in the Welsh Government’s science policy, Science for Wales. Supercomputing has also been recognised as an important component of the UK’s new industrial strategy.”

Professor Biagio Lucini, from Swansea University, said: “This is a significant investment that represents a major step forward for Wales, contributing towards its competitiveness in science, engineering and innovation.”

Gavin Thomson, senior vice president of big data & security UK&I, Wales, Scotland, Ireland at Atos, said: “We are delighted to be 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.”