Wales gets £44m supercomputing institute

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has announced a new £44m high-performance computing (HPC) institute for Wales.

Called HPC Wales, the project will be co-funded with £10m from BIS’s strategic investment fund (SIF), which was bumped up by £200m to £950m, as announced by chancellor Alistair Darling in the government’s pre-Budget report.

The Welsh secretary Peter Hain pointed out the need to give industries real help to aid recovery and long-term growth. “This means creating the right conditions for enterprise and maintaining the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business,” he added.

Hain continued, “HPC Wales will give firms access to supercomputing resources and also offer consultancy services and tailored training packages to enhance workforce skills.”

A statement from BIS said the additional contributions to make up the extra £34m will come from European funds, higher education in Wales and the private sector.

According to a BIS spokesperson, HPC Wales will be split across Cardiff and Swansea Universities with no centralised site.

Wales HPC will offer skills-development activities ranging from individual workshops to Masters-level courses. Short-term internships will also support two-way knowledge transfer and create stronger links between HPC Wales and the industrial community.

The Universities of Cardiff and Swansea will deliver HPC Wales, providing the technology and skills base to support research and development projects.

BIS expects HPC Wales to create more than 400 new jobs across the digital, low-carbon, health, bio-science, engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors, with the majority in highly skilled technical and scientific fields such as image processing, animation, 3D visualisation, data mining and simulations.

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