Newsletter: Research IT innovation community

by | Feb 19, 2019 | Cloud solutions, Compute capacity and resources, Edge compute, Event, HPC, Innovation community, Newsletter | 0 comments

If you were unable to attend our ‘Lunch with the Research Lifecycle Programme’ event last week, there’s a recording available for you to download. Also, we introduce the Innovation Community lead for one of our projects.

Lunch with the Research Lifecycle

We held our ‘Lunch with the Research Lifecycle’ open event last week. Simon Hood, the Head of Research Infrastructure and Platforms, kicked off the event by reporting on the programme’s change projects Z, M & K, which are focused on the incremental building of compute capacity and investing in High Performance Compute across the university.

Simon reported that the first half of our order for various pieces of equipment has been sent to procurement; the hardware components from Dell, the integration from ALCES software, the Infiniband connects and NVIDIA GPU processor boards have been ordered. This means there will be slippage in delivery beyond the three month expected timeline.

The projected benefits of these investments were then displayed by two researchers who showed how they utilise current e-Research infrastructure. They addressed how the increased compute capacity coming through RLP investment will benefit their projects.

Dr Alistair Revell from The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering presented his work exploring the simulation of fluid and air dynamics. His presentation referenced how in such simulations lessons from nature can be integrated in models to better understand and design mechanical components. Bumps on the fins of whales led to the use of bumps on Formula 1 cars , while the effect of hair on seals and the feathers of birds contribute to efficiency and control.

Dr Mara Chiricotto from The School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science then presented how various simulations can benefit from reduced processing times from increased capacities. These simulations vary from shampoo particle simulation, to the potential of graphene coated rubber for tyres.

This event was a new form of engagement for the RLP and proved to be very successful. We are planning to continue with a similar format in the future.

Dr Emma Finch talks about Project Q – Design a Research IT Innovation Community

Since the start of February, I have taken on the role of the “Research Lifecycle Project Q: Innovation Community Lead”. The scope of this project is currently quite broad and as such I am endeavouring to reach as many researchers as possible across all faculties. Within the RLP consultation phase, it was recognised that there are a lot of research groups and collaborations of various sizes across the University that are using similar technologies to answer varying research questions that are currently unaware of each other.

My focus will be to determine where there are synergies and overlaps in the use of research technologies to determine the benefits for potential collaboration between academics and research groups in their use of computing resources/applications locally and university wide. This includes big data, data mining, visualisation and VR, AI and Robotics, among others. I am also aware I will likely encounter further resources and applications as I conduct my research that will subsequently be included in the project’s scope.

My remit is to create networks of researchers with similar interests so that they can meet, ‘speed date’ and find where they can best pool their resources or funding applications to get the biggest advantage to all. As I see it, this is also an opportunity to prevent researchers spending time attempting to solve issues that have already been solved elsewhere within the University’s research community.

We hope to generate a University-wide system where these groups can interact digitally for quick questions, as well as initiating some face-to-face coffee/cake/lunch discussion or workshops (which I feel tend to work better). The hope is that the innovation communities that we generate will be able to innovate together so that new tech and ideas can be rolled out and supported across the University (with RIT support as needed).

Information on the progress of this project will be included in future newsletters. Please email Dr Emma Finch with any queries.


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