Science and Technology Facilities Council
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£4million to develop data handling techniques for industry

A £4million project with STFC Hartree Centre will bring together experts from academia and industry to create new ways to extract useful information from large data sets.

Scientists from the University of Liverpool are leading the data science research project that aims to utilise emerging hardware such as graphics cards to significantly reduce the time it takes to analyse difficult data sets.

With ever more complex data sets being generated by science, society, government and industry, new approaches are needed so key information can be quickly and efficiently accessed from huge pools of data. Although there are algorithms which can do this already, they come at a huge computational cost – so researchers are hoping to find a way to harness the power of these algorithms but at a fraction of the computational cost.

The project will focus on the following areas which all generate and manipulate difficult data sets: pharma, nuclear security, defence, manufacturing, biology, chemistry, physics and psychology.

Deputy Director of STFC Hartree, Michael Gleaves, said: “This project will strengthen the ability of the team, as a key pillar within the UK community, to take the lead in developing a next-generation solution to problems encountered across a vast range of industrial sectors.”

Researchers at the University’s Liverpool Big Data Network, supported by staff from STFC Hartree Centre, have been awarded funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to find a way to use the algorithm that already exists, but is currently largely overlooked by data scientists.

Using this algorithm will make it possible to exploit the power of emerging hardware – such as graphics cards – to handle data in a way which is currently largely incompatible with such hardware.

IBM, with over 24 researchers in the STFC Hartree Centre in Daresbury, is a key industrial partner in the project and, as well as working as an integral part of the team, will also provide access to supercomputing facilities supported by computational science and engineering expertise.

IBM's Chief Science Officer for the collaboration with STFC, Kirk Jordan, said: “IBM is excited about this particular project as it is yet another example coming out of the Hartree Centre demonstrating how the STFC and IBM collaboration will provide significant benefits and value to UK industrial competitiveness and will create reusable assets to help multiple industries. In addition, working with Liverpool University, we are pleased to help develop the computational skills of the next generation of scientists.”

More information is available on the University of Liverpool website.


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