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Queen Mary institutes receive funding for state-of-the-art high performance computing facility

20 January 2021

The Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI) and the William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI) have been successful in their joint application for internal funds to create a High Performance Computing facility at Queen Mary.

High Performance Computing (HPC), refers to computer systems with extremely high computational power that are designed to solve problems requiring significant computing resources. HPC can be used for scientific and healthcare applications for a wide range of applications, enabling the parallel processing of data and rapid solving of complex problems at scale.

The new HPC infrastructure at Queen Mary will support research across the University, including existing projects involving the analysis of healthcare data collated through the Barts Bioresource and Genes and Health projects, and the development of Artificial Intelligence-based cardiac image computing to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

It will be located at the University's data centre in Slough and access to the facility will be managed by DERI in collaboration with Queen Mary's IT Services Research team. DERI is the first research institute created to support the delivery of Queen Mary's Strategy 2030 and aims to drive progress in digital and data science, by amplifying existing research and supporting the formation of new cross-cutting interdisciplinary collaborations.

Professor Greg Slabaugh, Professor of Computer Vision and AI and Director of the Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI) at Queen Mary, said: "In the era of Big Data, where we're able to collect much larger and more complex data sets, the need to have HPC infrastructure to handle this is becoming ever more important. With this funding we'll be able to purchase state-of-the-art HPC including NVIDIA A100 Graphics Processing Units, which will accelerate training of large-scale AI workloads, particularly using deep learning."

"We hope that collectively, the computing infrastructure we're creating will enable our researchers to continue to deliver innovative research and that this joint initiative between DERI and the WHRI will help nurture further cross-faculty collaborations across the University."

Michael Barnes, Professor of Bioinformatics and Director of the Centre for Translational Bioinformatics, said: "By combining innovative AI and HPC capacity with rich clinical data, we will have a real opportunity to address many of the clinical challenges, such as multi-morbidity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes that face the East London patient population."

Tom King, Assistant Director for Research, IT Services adds: "This is a huge investment in some of the best hardware to support Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning workloads. We've been working closely with Professor Slabaugh to identify how to best support the needs of DERI & WHRI and we're looking forward to supporting researchers in getting the most out of this exciting investment."

The HPC is planned to be in place by Q2 of 2021. Queen Mary researchers interested in accessing the equipment can contact Professor Greg Slabaugh (g.slabaugh@qmul.ac.uk) for more information.

Updated by: Michal Filus