N8 Leads The Way In High Performance Computing


A new £3.25m Centre of Excellence for High Performance Computing is bringing together the best academic expertise in the N8 Research Partnership. 

The new Regional Centre, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will provide a shared facility for high performance computing (HPC) for the Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York – an established partnership of research-intensive universities that collectively form the N8 collaboration.

The facility which is based at the University of Leeds, and will be run jointly with the University of Manchester, is of a scale currently not readily available to the partners.

The Centre of Excellence will provide a major boost to world-class research in the partner institutions, allowing researchers to build more realistic computational models and undertake more complex analyses in fields as diverse as healthcare (eg modelling organs and their interactions, discovering causal patterns in health data), sustainable energy (eg modelling wave energy conversion), and aerospace (eg large-scale simulation for developing green air transport).  The shared facility will make it easier for institutions to collaborate on research and will create opportunities to engage more effectively with business and the community.

Academic leadership for the Centre will be provided by Professors Chris Taylor (Associate Vice President Research and Business Engagement, Manchester) and David Hogg (Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Leeds).

Professor Taylor said: “This development provides an exciting opportunity for the N8 universities to boost internationally-leading research that has significant real-world impact”.

Professor Hogg said: “This is a good example of the N8 universities working together to share research assets, combine research strengths, and engage more effectively with industry and the community”.

The N8 partnership has recently published a report into the potential for sharing research assets across the universities in the North with a view to encouraging greater collaboration and industry links.

The ESPRC-funded report ‘Sharing for Excellence and Growth’ has identified opportunities for sharing the unique research equipment housed in each institution and wider benefits arising from this including: better training and recruitment of world class research talent, new and novel research ideas, and the development of leading-edge equipment through strategic relationships with technology manufacturers and suppliers. The HPC Centre of Excellence is one of the first examples of this collaborative approach being taken forward across the N8 Group.

Funding to seed the five-year project has been secured from the EPSRC as part of a national strategy for HPC.

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “Having access to high performance computing facilities is becoming increasingly essential to many branches of science, to investigate new theories and model more complex problems in greater detail. Collaborations such as the N8 Research Partnership can provide these vital tools and help UK institutions build on their existing strengths.”


Asset collaboration