Posted on 22 March 2011
From Left, Dr Kazuo Murano, Ieuan Wyn Jones and Fujitsu UK chief executive Roger Gilbert
Global technology giant Fujitsu has today (March 22) been named as the successful bidder to partner with the Universities in Wales to create a unique £40 million world-class super computing network, a research and innovation institute and a skills academy.
The supporting infrastructure will stretch to the four corners of Wales and have a reach across the rest of the globe.
The contract is worth £15 million over four years to Fujitsu, who will provide infrastructure and services.
It represents a quantum leap forward in high performance computing in Wales. It will give Wales the most advanced and evolving computing technology available.
High performance computing technology has the capacity to handle and analyse massive amounts of data at high speed, bringing innovation to the market faster.
The High Performance Computing Wales (HPC Wales) project is of strategic importance to the Welsh economy, creating super computing capability and capacity across Wales, accessible to both universities and industry. It will position Wales as a leading international centre for specialist computational research, providing a strong competitive advantage.
The scale and distributed nature of the undertaking, combined with its open access to business, makes it a unique initiative, unprecedented in the UK and the rest of Europe.
The investment in super computing facilities and equipment, accessible via a network linked to 12 sites across Wales, is backed by a major investment in high level skills development and training, as well as tailor-made training and research support for business.
Fujitsu will commence work immediately, with support from their partners, including household names such as Microsoft and Intel. The aim is for the HPC project to be fully operational before the end of this year.
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport, described it as a major investment in the future of Wales – providing both the supercomputing facilities and staffing needed for future growth.
He said: “It will provide crucial support for key industry sectors as well as stimulate the growth of ICT and other industries. It supports our Economic Renewal programme, giving businesses real competitive edge, encouraging higher value-added industry and making Wales an attractive location for high value investment.”
A spokesman for Fujitsu said: “Our work with HPC Wales will be one of the most significant enterprise-class grid systems in Europe today and will be Fujitsu’s largest HPC project in Europe.
“What’s key for us is that HPC is no longer all about ‘tera’ and ‘petaflop’ supercomputer technical ratings.
“Rather it is about what the HPC capability is used to achieve and ultimately what difference that makes. We’re confident that our work with HPC Wales will bring significant technology, skills, research, jobs and economic development to the region.”
Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, said it would open up a new era of commercially focussed research across Wales, forging close collaborations between businesses and universities.
“The academy and outreach programmes will also drive forward high level skills, with hard objectives for building skills levels in information and communication technologies and computational based science. It will help businesses in every part of Wales, complementing the support delivered through the Economic Renewal programme.”
The main computer hubs for HPC Wales will be in Cardiff and Swansea/Pembroke, linked to spokes at Swansea, Aberystwyth, Bangor and the University of Glamorgan, with further links to University of Wales Alliance Universities and business innovation centres throughout Wales.
HPC Wales, which was announced last July, consists of three elements:
• investment in new equipment accessible from centres around Wales
• a training academy to develop high performance computing skills among researchers
• and an institute to provide high level technical services to support research and economic activities.
HPC Wales has a unique delivery vehicle in place for this project which 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.
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 and private sector and research income.
The £40m investment will cover equipment, management and operational costs over the first five years to 2015. HPC Wales will develop a plan to deliver sustainability at the end of five years.
Professor Noel Lloyd, chair of Higher Education Wales and vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “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.”
Notes to editors:
Fujitsu is a leading provider of ICT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 170,000 employees supporting customers in 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.6 trillion yen (US$50 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com
Fujitsu UK and Ireland is a leading IT systems, services and products company employing 11,400 people with an annual revenue of £1.7 billion. Its business is in enabling its customers to realise their objectives by exploiting information technology through its integrated product and service portfolio. This includes consulting, applications, systems integration, managed services and product for customers in the private and public sectors including retail, financial services, telecoms, government, defence and consumer sectors. For more information, please see: www.uk.fujitsu.com
Available on the HPC Wales website – www.hpcwales.co.uk
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Graham Goulden, Fujitsu UK & Ireland, Tel: +44 (0)843 354 9568, Graham.firstname.lastname@example.org
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