UK joins European network to advance high performance computing

Two leading supercomputing facilities in the UK have combined to create a national computing competence centre as part of a Europe-wide network.

​The UK centre will be led jointly by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Hartree Centre and EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh.

The collaborative programme is set to elevate supercomputing and artificial intelligence (AI) research and innovation quality across Europe, and enhance its accessibility and availability for industry, academic and the public sector.

European collaboration

Known as EuroCC@UK, the UK centre will form part of a new network of over 30 national competence centres across Europe, funded by the European Commission.

To support the national needs of academia, industry and the public sector across Europe, the network will provide a platform for sharing:

  • best practice
  • expertise
  • excellence in advanced computing.

Working with industry

In the UK, the collaboration aims to put a particular emphasis on enabling industry to benefit from:

  • high performance computing (HPC)
  • high performance data analytics (HPDA)
  • AI technologies.

The rapid digitalisation of industry has resulted in a vast amount of data being created, for example from sensors on a production line, or simulation techniques used within the design process.

The centre will also focus on enabling small and medium enterprises to benefit from these technologies. It will do this by surveying and documenting existing ways of working to enhance approaches to industry engagement.

HPC training

Businesses require new knowledge and technical skills to tackle both the volume and the scope of this data, and HPC training for industry will be a key activity of EuroCC@UK.

The STFC Hartree Centre and EPCC are recognised world leaders in HPC training and innovative training delivery mechanisms, in order to increase accessibility and encourage growth in the HPC user base.

EuroCC@UK will map current expertise in the UK and develop:

  • training
  • software support
  • industry engagement programmes.

It will also carry out awareness-creation activities to ensure the UK’s scientific and industrial research communities remain engaged in European HPC.

EuroCC is jointly funded by national funding programmes from the project’s partner countries and the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 as part of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.

The National Competence Centre allows the UK to contribute to and to learn from international best practice in supporting the wider uptake of HPC, HPDA and AI by industry and academia.

This collaboration shows how UKRI continues to play an active role in the European research and innovation landscape.

The roadmapping activities will allow us to identify gaps in our national provision of support to industry and to benchmark ourselves against the best in Europe. With the increase in UK investment in computing e-infrastructure, the findings will enable the UK to better target our resources to make the most effective use of the new capacity for economic and societal benefit.

Alison Kennedy, Director of the Hartree Centre

The UK has worked successfully with HPC centres across Europe for many years. Most recently this has been through the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, where EPCC and the Hartree Centre have represented the UK for the past decade.

The new network of National Competence Centres in HPC being established by the EuroCC project continues and grows this successful collaboration with our European counterparts and also the collaboration between EPCC and the Hartree Centre.​

Professor Mark Parsons, Director of EPCC

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