Rolls-Royce is the first company to join education body Jisc's high performance computing (HPC) brokerage scheme.
The British aviation and aerospace firm, which makes engines for the world's biggest airliners and military aircrafts, will be given access to supercomputing equipment worth up to £60 million at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s HPC Midlands.
There are enormous capital costs in setting up HPC centres, so joining the scheme allows Rolls-Royce to benefit from additional world-class facilities and expertise.
The company will also be taking advantage of a connection to Janet, the high-speed network for UK education and research.
The agreement follows the release of the Dowling Review into the complexity of current business-university collaborations by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, which recommended ‘as simple as possible’ interfaces between user and scheme that ‘hide the wiring’.
Through Jisc’s Janet Reach scheme for industrial connectivity – which leverages £30 million of public investment in ultra-fast internet – a network circuit operating at 10 Gigabits per second will be installed at the HPC centre.
Janet Reach is a Jisc research and design project that will provide companies that join with high-capacity connections to the Janet network, enabling them to benefit from the same superfast and secure connectivity that UK academic organisations already enjoy.
“For many years now we have worked with universities and colleges across the UK and internationally, and we partner with a number of institutions on research and development through our University Technology Centres,” said Rolls-Royce’s HPC lead, Dr Yoon Ho. “This agreement was a natural next step to explore sharing facilities more broadly.
“We have been impressed by the professional approach that Jisc and HPC Midlands have taken to this project, in particular around our tough information security and export control requirements, and we see a very bright future for our collaboration.”
The HPC brokerage agreement being used by Rolls-Royce has been developed by Jisc in conjunction with HPC Midlands and other leading UK supercomputer centres.
It is part of Jisc’s asset sharing initiative, helping the sector to implement Sir Ian Diamond's report ‘Efficiency, effectiveness and value for money’, which recommended increased collaboration and shared services to improve efficiency and productivity.
Jeremy Sharp, Jisc's director of strategic technologies, said: “It is no longer the case that academia and industry operate in separate, parallel worlds. In an environment where resources are increasingly constrained, both sectors need to understand how they can work more closely together and learn from one another.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to come up with a two such solutions that break down some of these barriers. Rolls-Royce signing up as the first company demonstrates just how valuable these initiatives are to supporting UK business and the economy to thrive.”