Page 1

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

news Issue 85 SUMMER 2019

Too much choice? How can we benefit from the multiplicity of parallel programming technologies?

In this issue How we support business growth ARCHER 2: a significant step forward for UK science HPC for urgent decision making and extreme conditions IoT Research and Innovation service

From our Director Welcome to the Summer 2019 edition of EPCC News. We have now settled into our new offices at the Bayes Centre in central Edinburgh and, as I hope we show in this newsletter, EPCC is going from strength to strength. We have been increasing in size for the past year and now have almost 110 staff. It’s a great pleasure to see lots of new faces – many starting their careers in supercomputing and data science at EPCC. As previous issues have demonstrated, EPCC has always had a very successful programme of European Commission research and innovation projects. Although much is changing in this regard, we have continued to bid successfully for Horizon 2020 funding and a number of new projects have recently started. While EPCC has never been busier – we were running 106 concurrent projects in April – we do hope that the final

Contents 3

BREXIT arrangements will allow us to continue working with our many collaborators in the European Union. Supercomputing is an international activity. We are very pleased that the ARCHER 2 procurement programme has now properly started and that we have been chosen to host the system (see p9). We expect it to “go live” around May 2020. However, we’re already working on successor systems – a number of Exascale supercomputing investments have been announced worldwide and, as a major industrialised nation, the UK must continue to invest. There is a lot of convergence between traditional supercomputing and artificial intelligence at the moment which we’ll report on in a future issue. I hope you enjoy this one. Mark Parsons, EPCC Director m.parsons@epcc.ed.ac.uk

EPCC at ISC 2019

New staff

EPCC continues to grow

LSST sky survey

Multi-petabyte astronomy


DJ Alexander’s Apropos


Growing Sustainably


Commercial benefits of collaboration

Changing the property market

Supporting a fintech’s expansion

Working for mutual benefits


RBS joins the Bayes Centre


IoT Research & Innovation



Data innovation unit opens

New service to support research A major advance for UK science


EPiGRAM-HS project










Software Sustainability Institute

Preparing for Exascale

Advanced computing for biomolecular research Computing for extreme conditions New treatment management app HPC for urgent decision making

Awarded £6.5million by UKRI

Booth number: B-1251 EPCC’s delegates have a busy schedule at ISC this year. Come and meet us in booth B-1251, where we will be very pleased to talk about EPCC’s activities. You can also test yourself against our new coastal-defences demo or design an aircraft wing – both activities will be running on Wee Archie, EPCC’s Raspberry Pi-based supercomputer. As usual, our colleagues are key participants in several parts of the ISC programme, from running Birds of a Feather sessions, to presenting


papers and chairing sessions. You can find a full list of EPCC’s activities linked from the front page of our website. Finally, a special mention for TeamEPCC, who will be taking part in the Student Cluster Competition. The team is drawn from current students of our MSc programmes (see p20), and you’ll find them in Booth A-1452 along with EPCC’s Xu Guo, the Team Coach (see p21). They are keen to explain their work to conference visitors so please say hello!


+44 (0)131 650 5030


Parallel programming






PRACE SHAPE programme


MSc & student competition




Data driven innovation

Too many technologies?

International HPC collaborations Engineering Centre of Excellence HPC for Europe’s SMEs

Training the next HPC generation EPCC at the Big Bang Fair Spreading the word to business

Twitter: @EPCCed

EPCC is a supercomputing centre based at The University of Edinburgh, which is a charitable body registered in Scotland with registration number SC005336.


New staff

Evgenij Belikov Applications Consultant in High Performance Computing

Nicola Bombace Applications Consultant in High Performance Computing

Andrew Brooks Applications Consultant in Data Science

David Homan Applications Developer in Data Science

Caoimhín Laoide-Kemp Salome Llabres Applications Developer Applications in High Performance Developer in Data Computing Science

Bianca Prodan Applications Developer in Data Science

Spyro Nita Applications Developer in Data Science

Stephen Worthington Applications Developer in Data Science

UK astronomy enters multi-petabyte era The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which EPCC has been involved with for over a decade, will soon pass an important milestone as it moves from construction to commissioning. The UK is a significant contributor to this $1bn US-led project. EPCC collaborates with the University of Edinburgh’s Wide-Field Astronomy Unit and astronomy departments around the UK to deliver a UK Data Access Centre, host the LSST survey, and provide computational tools to enable researchers to exploit the half an exabyte of observations that will be produced during the 10-year survey. The LSST:UK consortium is running a four-phase, 20-year programme of research and development, addressing the computational demands of telescope construction, commissioning, early science and full survey operations, all supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. In the summer of

2019, the UK consortium will begin Phase B of its programme: a 4-year, £5m R&D project in which EPCC staff will finalise and deploy the first full version of the LSST Science Platform ready for full-data-rate testing and telescope science validation. It is an exciting time for UK astronomy, which is participating in a number of other grand-challenge projects including the Square Kilometre Array, the Euclid space mission, and the GAIA space survey. This move into the era of multipetabyte data analysis represents a step-change in UK astronomy, and EPCC will be on hand to ensure a successful transition to the new era.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

An LSSST lens. Image credit: Safran.

George Beckett, EPCC g.beckett@epcc.ed.ac.uk

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a nextgeneration sky survey facility under construction in Chile. The UK astronomy community is playing a full role in preparation for the start of LSST operations in 2022.

www.lsst.org www.lsst.ac.uk 3

Re-engineering property management in the UK EPCC is providing ongoing technical support to Edinburghbased property management company DJ Alexander as it expands across the UK in conjunction with the release of its revolutionary software platform, Apropos. The Apropos platform will provide an integrated online service for landlords, tenants and DJ Alexander’s own staff. It utilises the latest advances in software development to provide a new and innovative property management experience. EPCC is supporting the platform across various dimensions, from distinct projects designing best-in-class software architecture to developing database and cloud computing infrastructure and providing ongoing technical expertise to the Apropos software development team. To date, EPCC has provided DJ Alexander with advice on both technical designs and release plans. We have reviewed a new design for a single sign-on server architecture; advised on the deployment of database read-replicas and how to preserve data during application rollbacks; provided input into their production deployment plan, and discussed issues that DJ Alexander 4

could encounter when rolling out Apropos and contingencies for them based on our experiences of service provision. We have also undertaken a review of popular open source business rules engines to assess their suitability for future integration into Apropos. Future project engagements will include advanced data analytics and machine learning models to further optimise the Apropos platform and service to users. EPCC Software Architect Mike Jackson has been working on the platform’s development: “It has been very rewarding to work with DJ Alexander, helping them develop a software solution that facilitates rather than constrains their expansion and helps contribute to their continued success.” A launch is planned for later in 2019. Later releases will allow contractors, sellers and buyers to access their own portals.

Thomas Blyth, EPCC t.blyth@epcc.ed.ac.uk

“Working with EPCC has been extremely useful. Knowing that we have embedded the right software systems and architecture from the start ensures that we will be able to rapidly scale across the UK in line with our business growth plans.” Nick Maunder, Apropos CTO


Privacy, transparency and control: disrupting the charitable-giving sector EPCC has been working closely with Edinburgh-based fintech company Sustainably, supporting its rapid growth in the charitable giving sector. Sustainably is disrupting a $400 billion market by making it easier for businesses and consumers to have a positive impact every day by rounding up cashless transactions and donating spare change to causes they care about automatically every time they shop. Sustainably brings together macro trends in cashless transactions, philanthropy, ethical consumerism, and corporate social responsibility into one platform to make it easy for businesses and consumers to give to causes they care about in connected and frictionless ways, with privacy, transparency and control, and create impact in communities and around the world, every day. The company’s digital platform is connecting to 95% of the UK banking sector and will provide a secure, robust and seamless platform that will allow businesses and consumers to make positive contributions to charities of their choice. Across multiple projects EPCC is providing software development

and data architecture expertise including API functionality across multiple platforms, identity management and front-end/ backend development support. EPCC’s support is required to ensure that the architecture is not only fit for purpose, but utilises the latest thinking and art-of-thepossible around systems, data science and security. To provide the software development and data architecture expertise to support Sustainably’s growth, EPCC has been drawing on its expertise in advanced data analytics, software and machine intelligence and its extensive experience of applying innovative technologies to more than a thousand organisations. EPCC Applications Consultant Alistair Grant says: “EPCC is able to help Sustainably move from a proof-of-operation product to a scalable solution that uses cloudbased technologies. It is extremely satisfying to provide help with data services and systems architecture for this interesting and socially responsible product.”

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Loral Quinn, Sustainably hello@sustainably.co

“As Sustainably develops its

core functionality for scaling this collaborative project, with the expertise from EPCC, will support Sustainably’s strategic objectives of delivering data driven impact by ensuring its software, systems, processes and security are scalable and robust.” Loral Quinn, Sustainably CEO

www.sustainably.co 5

Collaboration delivers competitive products faster Image: Optos

Optos is a leading provider of medical products and services to eyecare professionals. A collaboration between Optos, EPCC, and Intel has led to significant improvement in the performance of a software algorithm used in a product under development by the company. The project set out to identify a suitably priced Intel multicore processor on which to run the company’s code, and to accelerate an important Optos machinelearning code. The project baseline was Optos code running on a specific Intel chip and the target was to reduce its runtime to below 12 seconds on the preferred chip. EPCC, aided by Intel, achieved a runtime of 6.6 seconds on the preferred Intel chip. That’s almost two times faster than the target, over 15 times faster than the baseline software-hardware combination, and five times faster than the baseline software on the new chip. Importantly for Optos, the preferred Intel chip is 2.5 times faster than the original processor when running the optimised codes, and 25% cheaper than the target price. We also accelerated a second Optos code to run in just over five minutes on the preferred hardware, matching the acceleration figures of the main code. 6

All three partners benefited from working closely together on this project. The accelerated Optos codes and more affordable yet faster processor can be deployed on a production device, allowing Optos to cut costs while enhancing the performance of its product. This will further boost Optos’ market share as a whole, helping promote sales of its other related products. Optos has also gained insight into its code and ideas for how to further improve it. The company has better understanding of advanced techniques to benchmark and optimise multi-core codes, as used by EPCC for this project, and will apply this new knowledge to its software for years to come. The Scottish economy also stands to benefit. It is expected that this new opportunity will support ongoing product development activities at Optos’ headquarters in Dunfermline, supporting jobs in areas from research and Continues opposite

Kostas Kavoussanakis, EPCC k.kavoussanakis@epcc.ed.ac.uk “This project has brought direct benefits to our business, both by enabling us to develop competitive products faster and by building essential knowledge within our organisation. We look forward to a continued productive relationship with EPCC.” Jano van Hemert, Optos Research Director “We are excited to partner with Optos to identify key computing capabilities needed to accelerate their critical machine-learning codes. Intel processors demonstrated a significant boost in the performance for their codes, outperforming the target time of the currently deployed technology.” Trish Damkroger, Vice President and General Manager, Intel’s Data Center Group

Royal Bank of Scotland joins the Bayes community Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has opened a data innovation research unit in the Bayes Centre, joining EPCC, businesses, academics, and public sector partners in the heart of Edinburgh’s data science community. The Bank hopes the venture will create new opportunities for data science and that embedding its staff in the data science community will stimulate innovation and ideas to improve products and services. EPCC has been working with RBS on data analytics projects since August 2014. Our engagement has included projects with various RBS stakeholders and has on occasion leveraged skills from the School of Mathematics and the Business School. These projects have delivered impact to RBS, and the RBS-Bayes collaboration is an indication of our successful, ongoing relationship with the Bank. development through to manufacturing, so enhancing Scotland’s reputation in the areas of retinal imaging and machine learning. Intel gained insights into the performance of the MKL-DNN mathematics library employed by the popular Deep Learning library TensorFlow. In the seven months that it was active, the project established that MKL-DNN has been accelerated by up to 4.5 times in our use cases, information which is important for the uptake of the library. EPCC also provided profiling information gleaned from the Optos use cases and this will help Intel further improve the performance of MKL-DNN. Prompted by the project findings, Intel improved Windows documentation in particular, which will increase the uptake of TensorFlow and MKL-DNN.

The Bayes Centre is the first of five data-driven innovation hubs to open as part of the University of Edinburgh’s involvement in the £1.3bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. It opened in October 2018 with the aim of fostering closer links between researchers and industry sectors, including financial services. As part of the UK’s second largest financial centre, the banks, insurance companies, and pension providers within the City Region are ideally placed to benefit from investment in data-driven innovation and respond to the challenges and opportunities of the data revolution. developed in-depth understanding of the industry-leading TensorFlow library. We will exploit this new knowledge in future collaborative projects, notably in our leading role in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Regional Deal. CodeOpt Scotland The project was part-funded by the CodeOpt Scotland programme, which was designed to increase company competitiveness by optimising the performance of business-critical software. CodeOpt is a partnership of EPCC, Scottish Enterprise and Intel.

EPCC has increased its exposure to machine-learning codes for cuttingedge industrial applications and The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Kostas Kavoussanakis, EPCC k.kavoussanakis@epcc.ed.ac.uk “Our people are part of the Edinburgh data science and innovation community. That’s why it is important to us that we join forces with other world-leading data science and artificial intelligence partners at the Bayes Centre, where we will work together on data-driven innovations that solve real-world problems.” Frank Meere, Director of Data, Royal Bank of Scotland

“The Optos CodeOptScotland project showcases the impact of engaging Intel for the benefit of Scotland’s economy, Scotlandbased companies and Scottish academia.” David Smith, Scottish Enterprise Director of Technology “The success of this project highlights EPCC’s capability to translate academic excellence to long-lasting benefit for our commercial partners.” Mark Parsons, EPCC Director

Contact our Business Team to discuss how we can work with your organisation. George Graham: g.graham@epcc.ed.ac.uk Thomas Blyth: t.blyth@epcc.ed.ac.uk 7

IoT Research and Innovation service ŠiStock.com/daisy-daisy

Most readers will have heard of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is a hot topic in technology, business and the mainstream news, projected as it is to underpin a future trillion-dollar market at least as large as, and by some estimations even greater than, the cloud-based computing services industry. At the University of Edinburgh we have been developing an IoT Research and Innovation Service as part of our Data Driven Innovation World Class Data Infrastructure (DDI WCDI). The IoT Service provides sensor-to-insight consultancy expertise for research and innovation projects together with a range of IoT testbed facilities, including our own LoRaWAN Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) deployed across Edinburgh for long range device communications and a connected real-time data visualisation and analytics platform. Our LoRaWAN network was first established in 2015 and now annually processes millions of messages. It can receive messages from devices located more than 16km away, eg across the Firth of Forth, with minimal amount of transmission energy required. During 2020, we will be expanding our LoRaWAN network beyond Edinburgh to encompass the whole of the South East Scotland City Deal region, which incorporates Fife, the Scottish Borders and the Lothians. Alongside the network rollout, we will be deploying multisensor IoT devices at scale across 7,700km2, totalling some 10,000 devices and 100,000 sensing elements, including for the capture of a unique real-time environmental dataset that will be used for 8

schools’ education, academic research, public services, and to spawn future innovation and entrepreneurship. IoT sits alongside robotics, AI and automation as one of the cornerstones of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. The combination of all of these capabilities into the one device will lead to the creation of autonomous Intelligent Connected Things (ICoT). On 5 December 2019, the IoT Service will hold our inaugural ICoT Conference, at which we will discuss the essential role of ethics and privacy in ICoT and showcase many new examples of ICoT-based solutions developed within education and from innovation projects across the region. Further event and registration information will be published soon. We are currently engaged in a wide variety of projects across many sectors (transport, health, tourism, education, ecology, fintech), utilising various sensor technologies (audio, infra-red, accelerometers) and multi-modal communications technologies (Wi-Fi, BLE, LoRa, 5G). Applications include monitoring physical activity/interaction, wildlife and biodiversity, building occupancy and energy consumption, and also immersive telepresence applications.

Simon Chapple WCDI IoT Service Head of Data Technology ISG University of Edinburgh simon.chapple@ed.ac.uk

We define IoT as a network of dedicated physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense and interact with the external environment, and that can connect and exchange data.

If you are interested in finding out more about the IoT service and how it could help your company or organisation with a new IoT project, please get in touch: iot.ed.ac.uk

£79m ARCHER 2 investment announced in Spring Statement

EPCC’s Advanced Computing Facility, which will be the site of the new computing room that will house ARCHER 2. Drone footage by EPCC.

Funding by HM Treasury for the replacement for the ageing ARCHER system – to be called “ARCHER 2” – was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond in his Spring Statement. The £79m investment forms part of a wider £200m investment in technology support for science and technology innovation. EPCC has already been selected to host the new system at our Advanced Computing Facility (ACF) at Easter Bush. The system will be used to continue to support the world-class science which has been delivered by the ARCHER service since 2013. It will be integral in aiding discoveries in medicine, climate science and aerospace. It will also build on previous British breakthroughs in targeted treatments for arthritis and HIV. EPCC will work with United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) to install the high performance computing service over the next year. The current ARCHER service has theoretical peak performance of 2.5 Petaflop/s (million billion calculations per second). We expect ARCHER 2 will deliver a minimum of five times more scientific capability than the venerable ARCHER service. The hardware procurement is currently being undertaken by UKRI with the system and science support contracts to be procured shortly thereafter. In common with the HECToR and ARCHER National HPC service procurements, the process is split into four different components: accommodation, hardware, system

support and science support. The ACF has already been selected to accommodate the system. It’s now up to EPCC to bid for, and hopefully win, the system support and science support contracts. Whoever wins, they must then form a close working relationship with the hardware provider to install and operate the service over the lifetime of the 5-year contract. EPCC is working hard to ensure as smooth a transition as possible between services. Unlike previous transitions there will be a break in service between ARCHER and ARCHER 2 of around 11 weeks. This is because ARCHER 2 will use all of the power and cooling capabilities of ACF’s Computer Room 3 and in discussion with EPSRC, it was agreed the simplest, most cost effective route to installing the new system was for a short break in service. Access to some interim resources via the Tier 2 services and international systems will be available during the transition for urgent work. Once the system is installed and the service has opened, ARCHER 2 will represent a significant step forward for UK science on the road to very large systems by the mid2020s as we approach the age of Exascale computing.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Mark Parsons, EPCC m.parsons@epcc.ed.ac.uk

“ARCHER 2 will provide UK science with an unparalleled capability to model and simulate the world around us. This is a real vote of confidence in EPCC, which is internationally recognised for its excellence in computational science and service provision.” Mark Parsons, EPCC Director

Hosted by EPCC, ARCHER is the current national supercomputing service www.archer.ac.uk 9

Preparing programming models for Exascale To make future heterogeneous systems easier to use efficiently, the EPiGRAM-HS project is improving and extending existing programming models with Exascale potential. EPCC is leading the work on heterogeneous network challenges. Having driven the effort to get persistent collective operations into the MPI Standard, we are now focused on exploring the full potential of that interface. The HPC applications in EPiGRAMHS need the halo-exchange and global reduction communication patterns. We will be working within the open-source Open MPI library to optimise and streamline the implementation of key communication operations: persistent neighbourhood collectives (for halo-exchange) and persistent all-reduce (for global reduction). The additional “planning” step in this new interface offers an opportunity to remove a lot of the middleware code inside MPI and thereby shorten the critical path for starting and completing communication. In addition, we will look for ways to allocate dedicated resources to improve performance even further, and ways to offload the remaining software overhead into smart hardware (eg FPGAs or programmable network devices) whenever possible. Beyond this implementation effort, EPCC will also research and develop extensions to 10

communication interfaces that overcome more of the limitations of existing MPI. Specifically, we are working on partitioned communication to provide more flexible notification mechanisms targeting multi-core and many-core hybrid programming, message channels to bring the benefit of persistence to point-to-point communication, and message streams to address the problem of variable-length messages. EPCC will also contribute to the other aspects of EPiGRAM-HS: heterogeneous memory and compute, integration with applications, and engagement with standardisation bodies. We are working with our project partners on ideas like running MPI natively on GPGPU devices to improve communication performance, auto-tuning data placement, layout, and movement using performance modelling combined with compiler and runtime adjustments, as well as offloading computation to GPGPUs, FPGAs, and into smart in-network devices. The next generations of supercomputers will be much more complex and specialised than today’s machines, but we will make sure our programming models are ready for the new challenge!

Dan Holmes, EPCC d.holmes@epcc.ed.ac.uk

We are working with the MPI and GASPI programming models primarily, but also applying our changes to HPC applications like Nek5000, OpenIFS and iPIC3D, and AI frameworks like TensorFlow and Caffe. We expect the trend towards specialisation of hardware will continue and therefore large machines will become more and more heterogeneous. EPCC will be at ISC’19. If you’re interested in EPiGRAMHS’s work, please find me for a coffee and a chat!

EPiGRAM-HS project partners are Cray UK Ltd, ECMWF, ETH Zurich, Fraunhofer ITWM, and KTH (project lead). Project website: https://epigram-hs.eu/

Powering biomolecular research through advanced computing BioExcel is a Centre of Excellence that supports academic and industrial researchers in the use of advanced computing in biomolecular research. It has received follow-on Horizon 2020 funding from the EU Commission to continue and expand its activities for a period of three years starting from January 2019. BioExcel is a collaboration of 14 partner organisations – universities, research institutes and industrial consultants – located in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Spain, Finland and the UK, and includes the core developers of a number of important biomolecular software applications including GROMACS, HADDOCK and PMX. EPCC has been involved in the BioExcel Centre of Excellence for Computational Biomolecular Research since its inception in 2015. Following the success of the first phase of the project, BioExcel is continuing to advance science and technology in the Life Sciences by: • Pushing the performance, efficiency, scalability, and usability of several key software packages on high-end compute systems including exascale – GROMACS, HADDOCK, CP2K, and PMX. • Co-designing activities with HPC vendors and system developers • Improving the usability of existing applications and tools to support the convergence of highperformance computing (HPC), high-throughput computing (HTC), and high-performance data analytics (HPDA) via the development of workflows combining HPC simulations with

data management and analytics •S  ignificantly expanding the range of training, commercial applications and services that are offered •M  aking publications, libraries, workflows, codes, and training material developed by BioExcel available via open-source and open-access principles •M  aking BioExcel sustainable so researchers in academia and industry can rely on long-term access to BioExcel’s resources •C  ollaborating with international initiatives, such as other centres of excellence, to strengthen the links between related research communities and leverage worldwide expertise. EPCC will contribute to the project by enabling and optimising usage of CP2K to perform hybrid QM/MM calculations using large-scale HPC resources. This is a novel approach in the context of biomolecular systems and has the potential to deliver large scientific impact. EPCC will also contribute in-depth support and training to potential users from the Life Sciences to ensure the software and workflows that are developed can be adopted by relevant research communities.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Arno Proeme, EPCC a.proeme@epcc.ed.ac.uk

BioExcel was established to provide solutions for long-term support of biomolecular research communities: fast and scalable software, user-friendly automation workflows, and a support base of expert core developers. Its services include hands-on training, tailored customisation of code and personalised consultancy support.

https://bioexcel.eu 11

Computing for extreme conditions ©iStock.com/TrueCapture

Virtually every scientific domain is experiencing an increase in the volume of data it produces, with growing computational power enabling more complex simulations. Although comparing these simulations with observation can improve models and understanding, it is highly data-intensive. There is a need for tools that make it easier to reliably formalise datadriven methods that exploit highend architectures efficiently. DARE is working to empower domain experts to invent and improve methods and models by providing a new platform and working environment. The project’s innovative technology will translate the scientists’ methods into concrete applications that can be deployed and executed on cloud resources offered by European e-infrastructures, as well as inhouse institutional platforms and commercial providers. DARE is initially focusing on seismology and climate research. Working with seismologists at The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (Italy), EPCC has developed interfaces to support the Rapid Ground Motion Assessment (RA) application, which was chosen as our first seismology use case for both its data and computational challenges. RA aims to model the strong ground motion after large earthquakes to allow rapid assessment of the earthquake’s impact and to support an emergency response. The 12

application requires rapid data analyses, handling multiple data formats, multiple data sources, and the availability of computing and storage resources on demand. Our main objective was to build an application that it is portable and reproducible with minimum need for changes if it runs on different computing resources. To do this we exploited different technologies such as scientific workflows, stream-based data-flow systems, containers, infrastructure orchestrations, notebooks, and cloud platforms. DARE has created a fluent path from prototyping to production with this new application. It can be run on different computing resources and will scale up automatically without user involvement. In future, the DARE platform will act as an intermediary between users’ applications (such as RA) and the underlying computing resources. Users will submit their applications through an interface that will automatically deploy the necessary environment on demand to run and monitor the applications, in addition to collecting their provenance and results.

Rosa Filgueira, EPCC r.filgueira@epcc.ed.ac.uk

The DARE project is addressing the challenges of combining extreme data, extreme computation and extreme complexity in scientific research.

A description of the technology employed in this use case is available on the EPCC blog: www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/blog DARE website: project-dare.eu

Taking the sting out of gout Gout is estimated to affect 2.5% of the UK population, and is increasing globally in association with cardiovascular disease and obesity. EPCC has been working with Dr Philip Riches of the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine to develop a new app that could lead to improved treatment and better quality of life for patients. Gout is a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the blood. It is characterised by sudden attacks of intense pain that result in reduced quality of life, work absence and disability. The standard treatment for the condition involves close monitoring of blood urate levels and medication, but the high level of health professional support required to ensure a long term cure of gout is rarely delivered: fewer than half of eligible patients receive preventive treatment and fewer than half of those on treatment receive an adequate dose of medication. The GoutSMART system has the potential to relieve the suffering of individuals with gout while also bringing healthcare savings by providing better care at reduced cost.

How it works GoutSMART uses finger-prick urate meters combined with a smartphone app and linked web portal to facilitate direct management of an individual’s gout. The goal is to find the correct dose of medication to keep the blood urate level below a certain threshold and so prevent a flare-up, although the patient must continue to take medication throughout their life. The GoutSMART app prompts the patient to carry out a finger-prick test and to submit the reading to

the app, which uses this information to calculate a daily dose of medicine tailored to the patient’s individual need. Tests are initially conducted at least once a fortnight, becoming less frequent as the appropriate dosage is established, with each suggested dosage approved by a clinician. Although the clinician’s involvement is not strictly necessary, it was found that patients preferred this additional step. The patient is notified of any change in their dosage. They then either accept the change or refuse it and send a message to the clinician. If the finger-prick result was good and no change is required, the patient receives an encouraging message from the app.

The technology The app was written with React Native, a mobile app development framework that allowed us to write a single code base from which to generate iOS (iPhone) and Android apps. The app communicates with a web portal that securely hosts patient data and the results of the readings on the secure EPCC web portal. A proof of principle study is now underway and we are very excited to be in the process of recruiting patients.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Philip Riches MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine priches@exseed.ed.ac.uk Amy Krause, EPCC a.krause@epcc.ed.ac.uk

The smartphone app and linked web portal were developed in collaboration with EPCC, working with our Lothian Gout Patient Advisory Group. It was generously funded by Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.

Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine www.ed.ac.uk/centre-genomicmedicine 13

HPC for urgent decision making ©iStock.com/LV4260

The EU VESTEC research project is focused on the use of HPC for urgent decision-making and the project team will be running a workshop at SC’19. EPCC is responsible for the project’s work package on supercomputing, which involves partners from across the EU, and this means we are responsible for the overarching system infrastructure. We have been very busy since the project launched in September 2018, from designing the system itself to a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session on HPC for urgent decision making that was held at the Supercomputing (SC) conference last year around. It is the second of these, the BoF at SC18, that I want to talk about here. This was the first time a session focused on HPC for urgent decision making had been held at SC, and I was happy that we attracted between 60 and 70 people – especially as we were competing against lunch! More importantly, our interaction with the audience was really fruitful and I was surprised to see how many people are involved, to some degree, in using HPC for urgent decision making. Using the contacts we made at SC18, we have planned another half-day workshop on the use of HPC for urgent decision making at this year’s Supercomputing in 14

November. The involvement of organisers from the US and another EU project means the scope of this year’s workshop goes beyond the VESTEC project and we aim to target the global HPC community. I am really excited about this because it will be a fantastic opportunity to further develop the community and learn in more detail what other people are doing in this space. The way we have defined it, HPC for urgent decision making covers a wide range of technical topics, from the ingestion of real-time sensor data, to interaction with HPC simulations, to visualisation techniques that enable decision makers to make the correct decision first time, every time. This variety is one reason why the subject is so interesting and we hope its many different aspects will be discussed at the workshop. We will publish papers, most likely in IEEE, and the current plan for this half-day workshop is to have a mixture of full and Hot Topic paper presentations, along with a keynote talk and panel session. See the workshop website for the latest details: www.urgenthpc.com

Nick Brown, EPCC n.brown@epcc.ed.ac.uk

VESTEC will build a flexible toolchain to combine multiple data sources, efficiently extract essential features, enable flexible scheduling and interactive supercomputing, and realise 3D visualisation environments for interactive explorations. VESTEC is a Future and Emerging Technologies project, and is part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.


Software Sustainability Institute to improve research software practices with £6.5 million UKRI funding Since 2010 the Institute has developed and advocated for an understanding of the fundamental importance of research software, its developers and users, its requirements, and how software advances research in the UK. The Software Sustainability Institute helps thousands of UK researchers from all disciplines to use software to increase the impact of their research. It has recently been awarded £6.5 million funding from all seven UK Research Councils to continue its world-leading work, with this new third phase funded until 2023. Over the last eight years the Institute has built a network of over 110 Fellows who act as advocates for software best practice in their research disciplines. The Fellows have published over 80 softwarerelated guides used by researchers across the UK and the world, organised over 180 training events for 4,500+ researchers to learn the software skills required in modern research, and provided software consultancy to improve the maintainability of over 60 different research projects from across all research councils. The Institute has also been nationally and internationally successful in the creation and advocacy of the Research Software Engineer role and growth of a worldwide community of Research Software Engineers.

During the new phase, the Institute will nurture the growth of communities of practice to foster the sharing of expertise across the entire research community, conduct research to provide insight into the use of software in research, continue enabling widespread adoption of research software practices, and offer training and guidance to help build a capable researcher community and increase the recognition of software in research. The £6.5 million funding awarded by the Research Councils will aid the Institute’s founding goal of enabling the research community to take full advantage of software and, in doing so, advancing world-class research in the UK. The Software Sustainability Institute is based at the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford and Southampton, and draws on a team of experts with a breadth of experience in software development, project and programme management, research facilitation, publicity, and community engagement. EPCC is a founding partner of the Institute.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Selina Aragon, EPCC and Software Sustainability Institute s.aragon@epcc.ed.ac.uk Neil Chue Hong, EPCC and Software Sustainability Institute N.ChueHong@epcc.ed.ac.uk

The Institute was initially funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in 2010. In 2016, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) joined EPSRC to further invest and help continue the work of the Institute in its second phase.

Software Sustainability Institute

www.software.ac.uk 15

Too much choice? ©iStock.com/karandaev

When is enough, enough? With so many parallel programming technologies, should we focus on consolidating them? At the ISC conference in June I will moderate a panel discussion on whether it is time to focus on the consolidation and interoperability of existing parallel programming technologies, rather than the development of new ones. MPI P2P, MPI RMA, OpenMP, OmpSs, Legion, GPI-Space, UPC++, Charm++, HPX, Chapel, GASPI, OpenACC, OpenCL, CUDA... This is just a tiny subset of the HPC programming technologies available for writing parallel code. Whilst a few have found popularity, the majority have had limited uptake, which is unfortunate as some of the less popular technologies contain really useful features, but it is a struggle to get a new HPC programming technology widely adopted. There are various reasons for this, but probably most significant is that HPC codes tend to be long lived. There can be significant risk for an HPC developer in choosing a technology that isn’t fully mature because they can’t be sure whether it will do what is required, will be installed on the target machines, or will be fully supported throughout the life of the code.

Sometimes it is better the devil you know and, even though classical parallel technologies such as MPI v1 and OpenMP might not be perfect, at least their ubiquity means they are well supported, 16

their future assured, and programmers know to some extent what to expect. But we all agree that these tools are not ideal. So instead of focusing on developing new solutions, should we tackle the problem by consolidating what we have already and ensuring that they work together, the overall value being greater than the sum of their parts? This really ties in with the INTERTWinE FET HPC project, which finished last year. Led by EPCC, it looked at developing approaches and standardisation for programming model interoperability, as well as exploring numerous use cases and writing best practice guides. The project was very successful and now it has concluded it is clear that there is still significant further work to be done by the HPC community, looking more at opportunities for increased coordination rather than focusing narrowly on our own specific programming technologies. Our panel at ISC will consider whether we should be looking more closely at consolidating and combining existing parallel programming technologies, working towards standardisation to enable better interoperability. It will also discuss the sort of parallel programming technologies the community should support.

Nick Brown, EPCC n.brown@epcc.ed.ac.uk

ISC panel discussion 4–5pm, June 19th Panorama 1. If you are at ISC, please come along and join in the discussion! Our panellists Brad Chamberlin, Cray: responsible for the Chapel effort, Rosa Badia, BSC: responsible for the Workflows and Distributed Computing group Hari Subramoni, Ohio State Univeristy: an MPI expert and co-organiser of the successful SC workshop on Extreme Scale Programming Models and Middleware Mirko Rahn, Fraunhofer: instrumental in the development of GASPI and GPI-Spaces.

INTERTWinE project (archived) www.intertwine-project.eu

Building research collaborations across Europe Javier Gallego Sanchez with the Kelpies sculpture near Falkirk in central Scotland. Below: Mats Simmermacher

The HPC-Europa3 project funds short collaborative “Transnational Access” research visits using HPC. In just 17 months EPCC has supported 50 HPC-Europa visits from research groups in a total of 15 countries. We are already seeing great results from our visitors, including at least seven publications. Applications for repeat or reciprocal visits – either between the same researchers, or different members of the same groups – are testimony to the strength of the ongoing collaborative links fostered by the programme. Two of our first HPCEuropa3 visitors have even returned to their former host research groups for longer visits. Theoretical chemist Mats Simmermacher visited Dr Adam Kirrander (School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) last year to work on quantum simulations of ultrafast scattering experiments that use X-ray Free-Electron Lasers. His visit led to him securing his current one-year post as Lecturer in Chemical Physics at the School. Mats is the joint author of a recent paper in the prestigious Physical Review Letters. This paper, “Electronic Coherence in Ultrafast X-Ray Scattering from Molecular Wave Packets”1, is based on simulations that Mats ran on ARCHER, the UK’s national supercomputing sevice, which is hosted by EPCC.

Javier Gallego Sanchez (Software and Computing Systems, University of Alicante) visited Prof. Bob Fisher (School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh) to work on a project to detect floating objects in the sea using aerial images with deep learning. This work focused on two methods – one for detecting oil spills, the other for locating people (eg who have fallen overboard or been shipwrecked) – and led to two joint publications between Javier and his host2. Javier has now returned to Prof. Fisher’s group for another six months, with funding from the Spanish government’s Centre for Industrial Technological Development. He continues to work on the oil spill detection system, and on a new project to develop a system to detect branches on a bush, to allow pruning by a robot. 1. Electronic Coherence in Ultrafast X-Ray Scattering from Molecular Wave Packets – Mats Simmermacher, Niels E. Henriksen, Klaus B. Møller, Andrés Moreno Carrascosa, and Adam Kirrander: https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/ PhysRevLett.122.073003 2. Detection of bodies in maritime rescue operations using unmanned aerial vehicles with multispectral cameras – Antonio Javier Gallego, Antonio Pertusa, Pablo Gil, Robert B. Fisher: https://doi.org/10.1002/rob.21849; Segmentation of Oil Spills on Side-Looking Airborne Radar Imagery with Autoencoders – Antonio Javier Gallego, Pablo Gil, Antonio Pertusa, Robert B. Fisher: https://doi. org/10.3390/s18030797

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Catherine Inglis, EPCC c.inglis@epcc.ed.ac.uk

EPCC is one of nine European centres offering visits through the HPC-Europa programme, giving academic and industrial researchers access to world-class HPC systems, and scientific collaboration with host researchers in any field. The programme is funded by the European Commission.

HPC-Europa3 project directory: http://bit.ly/EPCCNewsSummer19 The next closing date for HPCEuropa3 is 19th September. See: http://www.hpc-europa.org http://www.twitter.com/ HPCEuropa3 staff@hpc-europa.org 17

New European Centre of Excellence for Engineering Applications Stuttgart-based company RECOM Services uses HPC for computational process optimisation and problem analysis in industrial combustion. Image: RECOM Services

EPCC has joined with other European HPC centres and engineering experts to form EXCELLERAT, the European Centre of Excellence for Engineering Applications. Engineering applications will be among the first to exploit Exascale computing (more than 1018 operations per second). This will be the case not only in academia but also industry, with engineering judged to have the biggest potential for Exascale in the industrial field. EXCELLERAT will bring together expertise in high performance computing and engineering software to support the development of applications capable of exploiting Exascale computing. At the core of the project are six reference engineering software applications covering aerospace, marine engineering, renewable energy and automotive engineering. They were chosen to be representative of the types of application that could be run on Exascale computers, and each comes with one or more use cases that represents a real-world problem. These applications will provide requirements for technological developments (for example in the areas of new solver and numerical methods, and new mesh generation and adaptation techniques). The Centre will develop services based on the know-how developed in the project that can be 18

offered to the wider engineering community. The long-term objective is to create a sustainable centre that will support developers and users on the road to Exascale (and beyond). An important aspect of the work will be to take account of developments in new hardware and systems. EXCELLERAT will provide its users with access to the newest technologies and thus prepare engineering applications for further evolution on a base of state-of-theart hardware. The Centre also aims to provide access to future technology prototypes to foster the uptake of new technologies and to explore usability for certain problem spaces. This will be part of the co-design approach of EXCELLERAT.

Mark Sawyer, EPCC m.sawyer@epcc.ed.ac.uk

A centrifuge in a water pump that is used to clear glacial water of particles that could harm the rotor blades. Image HLRS.

Exascale computing is without doubt a massive opportunity for the engineering community. EXCELLERAT will help that community overcome the challenges that go hand-in-hand with the opportunities, and ultimately lead to great rewards. The Centre formally launched in December 2018, funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020.


Widening access to HPC for Europe’s SMEs

Visualisation of a 3D-printed cranial orthosis produced by the Invent Medical Group, which took part in the SHAPE programme.

The SHAPE programme, led by EPCC, has helped over 40 companies across Europe to get a foot on the HPC ladder, with benefits including reduced costs and faster time to market. SHAPE was set up to raise awareness of high-performance computing (HPC) among European SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and to provide them with the expertise required to take advantage of the innovation possibilities created by HPC. The ultimate aim of the programme is to increase the competitiveness of SMEs in Europe. We recently surveyed SMEs who had completed SHAPE projects within the last year and most reported that they are continuing to use HPC, even if they had not been doing so before their project began. Many also reported an improvement in their business process. Other frequently reported benefits included a faster time to market with an associated reduction in costs and improved sales. The potential range of SHAPE projects is diverse, for example the porting or parallelisation of the SME’s code to allow it to run on an HPC system, getting an SME up and running with a code already installed on an HPC system, or optimising an already running code for the SME’s specific use case. It is satisfying to note that in addition to projects in traditional HPC fields (engineering, climate

science, etc), SHAPE has supported projects from areas less well represented within HPC such as finance and medicine. The example pictured here is from the Invent Medical Group (Czech Republic), an SME that creates cranial orthoses (head supports) via 3D-printing. Their designs require testing and this can of course be done in a laboratory. However it is much more efficient to carry out testing via simulation, which is where HPC comes in. During the SHAPE project, the SME was able try out ESPRESO (a standard open source HPC package), which could then be compared to the wellestablished commercial package ANSYS it was already using. This was a success as they were able to show that the use of an open source package did not compromise results in any way. During a project the SME works closely with the PRACE partner to complete the required work while allowing the SME’s staff to gain new HPC skills. In addition SMEs get access to the HPC hardware resources they require - this may be on a conventional HPC system, but in some cases more novel hardware such as GPU nodes or visualisation suites may be appropriate.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Chris Johnson, EPCC c.johnson@epcc.ed.ac.uk

Get involved Calls are issued twice a year, with the 10th Call running from 1 October 2019–1 December 2019. SHAPE can work with SMEs to develop a proposal and the process of applying is very lightweight with just a simple form to fill in. www.prace-ri.eu/prace-shapeprogramme 19

The Bayes Centre. Photography by (left) Mark Reynolds and (above) Keith Hunter

MSc programmes update 2018/19 has seen the MSc in High Performance Computing/ High Performance Computing with Data Science’s largest ever entry, with 36 students beginning the programmes last September, and it has been an extremely busy year for students and staff alike.

New surroundings Now that both staff and students have had the chance to acclimatise to the surroundings of the Bayes Centre, it is safe to say the MSc team is very pleased. EPCC’s students have almost unrivalled access to our EPCC colleagues and there is a strong cohort spirit present within the year group making use of the study space in the Bayes Centre.

Industrial links More than half of this year’s students are set, subject to progression, to undertake their master’s dissertation projects through experiential learning. This year’s collaborations include a range of industrial and academic partners: from local businesses to national firms, UK centres of excellence, and multinationals. That so many students have been able, after an extremely competitive selection process, to take advantage of EPCC’s traditionally strong links with industry further shows the strengths of the 20

programme’s standing with collaborators. We hope to bring you further information on some of these projects in the next issue of EPCC News.

“Coming back to Edinburgh is to me like coming home.” Charles Dickens, speaking in Edinburgh in 1858.

As seen at the start of this issue, EPCC has welcomed back Spyro Nita, one of last year’s MSc students. He joins two other members of his cohort who have instantly returned to Edinburgh to undertake PhD study in the Schools of Physics & Astronomy and Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. This brings the total number of MSc alumni currently active within the University to 17, including eight current PhD students across the Schools of Informatics, Physics & Astronomy, and Mathematics and eight current EPCC members of staff. This does not include the others who have also remained in various companies around the city.

Ben Morse, EPCC b.morse@epcc.ed.ac.uk

EPCC offers two MSc degree programmes: The MSc in High Performance Computing and the MSc in High Performance Computing with Data Science. Both programmes offer flexibility with a rich choice of units and excellent job prospects on graduation.


Preparing for the 2019 ISC Student Cluster Competition In the Student Cluster Competition (SCC), teams build small clusters of different architectures and compete for the highest performance when running a series of applications and benchmarks under 3kW peak power limitation. TeamEPCC, comprising students of our MSc programmes, and their EPCC coaches describe the preparations. EPCC’s MSc programmes facilitate understanding of the performance of HPC hardware and software, and we are keen to put our research into practice. The team members share an enthusiasm for hands-on experience and getting things done. SCC is the perfect challenge! Applications porting and optimisation This year’s competition will consist of three benchmarks, three HPC applications, two AI applications, and one secret application to be announced on the day of the competition. To prepare for the announced applications, each team member is responsible for one or two applications but we also work together. After setting up the software stack, we have focused on porting and optimising the announced applications via different approaches such as data exploration, feature selection and efficient communication for distributed GPU learning, parameter optimisation for PotentialFOAM, SimpleFOAM and the HPC benchmarks, choosing the right libraries to optimise CP2K, etc. Cluster design We will use a balanced hybrid architecture with eight CPU-only nodes (each containing several Intel Skylake CPUs), and one additional

booster node including eight NVIDIA V100 GPGPUs. Our main goal is to succeed in the overall assessment, so we have included a relatively small number of GPUs in favour of a higher number of CPU-only nodes. By accumulating GPUs on one node we will benefit from having GPUs interconnected with NVLink. To avoid running out of memory when using only the booster node for GPU optimised codes, we have doubled DRAM capacity for the booster node. For the GPU-enabled benchmarks, we will adapt idle CPUs’ clock frequencies and deactivate several features. For the CPU-only benchmarks, idle GPUs’ power consumption will be minimised, giving us leeway to adjust power and performance according to the specific applications and benchmarks.

TeamEPCC 2019 comprises four students from our MSc in High Performance Computing (HPC) and MSc in HPC with Data Science (left to right): Mark Klaisoongnoen, Zhenzhong Xu, Christodoulos Stylianou, and Mario Martínez Requena.

TeamEPCC Xu Guo, EPCC TeamEPCC coach x.guo@epcc.ed.ac.uk Juan Rodriguez Herrera, EPCC TeamEPCC deputy coach j.herrera@epcc.ed.ac.uk

Meet us at ISC 2019 in Frankfurt The competition will be held in June in Frankfurt (Germany) as an integral part of the ISC High Performance Conference and Exhibition. We’ll be at Booth A-1452 and we will always be delighted to show visitors our cluster!

Training at Boston Ltd TeamEPCC is sponsored by Boston Ltd, which not only supports us with the cluster hardware but also provided two days’ practical training, giving us the opportunity to assemble the hardware and experiment with many system softwares. We all benefited greatly and improved our understanding of the system design and configuration.

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh

Follow us at ISC Working on HPC is something we really love to do, and we will share photos and videos of our activities at ISC: Instagram: /teamepcc Facebook: /TeamEPCC Twitter: teamepcc 21

EPCC Outreach: inspiring the next generation The EPCC Outreach team enjoyed a fun and successful trip to the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. The Big Bang Fair is an annual exhibition that aims to encourage young people to consider careers in any STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine) area. This was reflected in the variety of exhibitors, which included organisations such as GCHQ, the Army, Network Rail, JCB, and West Midlands Ambulance Trust. The highlight of the EPCC stand was Wee Archie, our Raspberry Pi-based mini-supercomputer. A lot of our visitors sought us out specifically after reading about Wee Archie, and were excited to have their photo taken with it! This year Wee Archie ran our new wave simulation that predicts how much money could be saved by the tactical placing of tidal defences to avoid the need to rebuild infrastructure. People of all ages enjoyed the demonstration and became quite competitive, and it sparked lots of discussions about the wide range of research that EPCC supports. We also took our non-technical parallel-sorting activity, which uses coloured bean-bags and corresponding buckets. To demonstrate the advantages of working in parallel, we ask one 22

person in a group to see how many bean-bags they can sort in 30 seconds, and to scale this up when the whole group is involved. This also got very competitive, especially when groups from the same school would try to beat each other! Most visitors were interested in the analogy with high-performance computing (HPC) systems, and we helped demystify some of the complexities around big HPC systems such as Archer, the national supercomputing system hosted by EPCC. As with previous outreach events, we also took a Cray XC30 board (as used in ARCHER), some smaller logic puzzles, and plenty of freebies to give away – including new aquatic-themed postcards of scientific simulations created using ARCHER, which were very popular. Total attendance at the Big Bang Fair was over 80,000 during its four days and our Wee Archie simulation was run approximately 1000 times. We hope that we conveyed the impact that HPC systems have on everyday life and the importance of supercomputers! Maybe we’ll see some of our visitors again in a few years, working at EPCC?

Jane Kennedy, EPCC j.kennedy@epcc.ed.ac.uk Darren White, EPCC d.white@epcc.ed.ac.uk Chris Wood, EPCC c.wood@epcc.ed.ac.uk

Through dedicated funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, we have a programme of public engagement activities designed to encourage young people to gain an understanding of HPC, computational science and programming. See our website for our outreach resources and activities: www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/discoverand-learn

Event review

Data driven innovation: what it means for business in Scotland EPCC is at the heart of the Data Driven Innovation programme of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. This £661m programme will lead to the creation of major new data services for Scottish business, with EPCC providing the World Class Data Infrastructure (WCDI) that will underpin it. Earlier this year we hosted an event to explain the enormous potential of data driven innovation for industry and to show how companies are already using data technologies to enhance commercial performance. Around 50 people from local businesses and enterprise agencies attended the event at our new home in the Bayes Centre in Edinburgh. We began with an update by EPCC’s Director Mark Parsons on our activities in data analytics including the plans for building the WCDI, which will support work with complex, high volume, real-time datasets from across the City Region and beyond. This was followed by my own presentation of real-life examples of data analytics in use by the games industry, food manufacturing and digital scanning. These projects, drawn from the H2020 Fortissimo 2 project, show how data driven innovation leads to direct business benefits. The National Data Safe Haven, hosted by EPCC, is a secure place for storing and controlling research

access to Scottish health-related data. The challenges of providing data safe havens were explained by EPCC System Architect Donald Scobbie. Simon Chapple rounded off this event by describing the work of his team at The Internet of Things (IoT) Research & Innovation Service at The University of Edinburgh (see page 8). His talk explained how companies are exploiting the real-time monitoring and tracking enabled by IoT technology, looking at areas such as healthcare, tourism and animal welfare. This event followed on from our ‘Industry 4.0’ workshop last September. The format of these events, with short presentations and plenty of time for discussion, is designed to give a forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas. It is proving popular and we plan to hold another event this autumn. Details of future events will be published on our social media accounts: Twitter: @EPCCed LinkedIn: epcc

The newsletter of EPCC, the supercomputing centre at the University of Edinburgh


Mark Sawyer, EPCC m.sawyer@epcc.ed.ac.uk

Event talks on SlideShare At the heart of data driven innovation for business Mark Parsons, EPCC http://bit.ly/2EZxQ2M How companies are exploiting data science Mark Sawyer, EPCC http://bit.ly/2Txg8O0 What is a data safe haven? Donald Scobbie, EPCC http://bit.ly/2EVaxXM How are organisations exploiting the Internet of Things? Simon Chapple, IoT Research & Innovation Service, University of Edinburgh http://bit.ly/2UzrrSq Contact EPCC Business Development Manager Thomas Blyth to discuss how we can work with you: t.blyth@epcc.ed.ac.uk 0131 651 3461 23

Image: Paul Dodds

Study HPC in the heart of the city

Master’s degrees in High Performance Computing (HPC) and in HPC with Data Science EPCC is the UK’s leading supercomputing centre. We are a major provider of HPC training in Europe, and have an international reputation for excellence in HPC education and research. Our MSc programmes in High Performance Computing (HPC) and HPC with Data Science have a strong practical focus and provide access to leading edge systems such as ARCHER (the UK’s National HPC Service), and Cirrus (an EPSRC Tier-2 National HPC facility). MSc students have the opportunity to undertake their dissertations as an industrial project, building on EPCC’s strong business links. Recent project partners range from start-ups to multinationals. “Studying the MSc in HPC at EPCC has given me the benefit of a thorough practical grounding in supercomputing and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the Student Cluster Competition at ISC High Performance 2018, alongside the wider opportunities afforded by the student experience at the University and in the city of Edinburgh.”

Programmes are taught in the heart of Edinburgh and students have dedicated workspace with unparalleled access to teaching staff in The Bayes Centre. Optional course choices include modules from the School of Informatics. Our graduates are in high demand in both academia and industry in the UK and abroad. The University of Edinburgh is ranked in the top 20 universities in the world by QS World University Rankings 2019. “Modules covered the full range of HPC and Data Science skill sets from core ‘best-practice’ ways of working to the latest technologies. These were well-structured and delivered at a good pace by lecturers who were more than happy to engage in discussion in response to questions.” Dr Andy Law, Roslin Institute, 2017 MSc in HPC with Data Science graduate

Wilson Lisan, 2018 MSc in HPC graduate


Profile for EPCC, University of Edinburgh

EPCC News 85: summer 2019  

EPCC News 85: summer 2019