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Durham University

Durham University News

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Durham to host new national supercomputer

(17 February 2020)

We’re hosting a new £3.1m supercomputer facility to address challenges in subjects ranging from Artificial Intelligence to advanced X-ray imaging.

The Northern Intensive Computing Environment (NICE) supercomputer will be based in Durham and will be used by the N8 Research Partnership of leading universities in the North of England.

Machine learning

NICE will allow greater understanding of data, such as the great volumes being generated from experiments and found in digital collections across the UK, by providing a platform where machine learning, models and simulation can be combined, allowing better explanations of Artificial Intelligence.

Among its many uses, the supercomputer will help scientists to advance imagining techniques to produce the next generation of X-ray instruments.

Students will also benefit by working on deep learning techniques – artificial intelligence that imitates the human brain when processing data – at the interface of computer calculations and HPC.

Advanced Research Computing

The decision to locate NICE at Durham University builds on our strong reputation in, and commitment to, computer science and High Performance Computing

NICE will be co-located with the Science and Technology Facilities Council DiRAC Memory Intensive Supercomputer (COSMA) used across the particle physics, cosmology, astronomy and nuclear physics programmes.

Our Advanced Research Computing Unit supports the innovative use of computer technology, hardware and software to enhance research across the University.

Researchers in our Institute for Data Science work across subjects with the aim of transforming our view of nature, science and culture.

We’re encouraging women to retrain in tech through the innovative TechUP programme.

And we’re also investing £40m in a new building for Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science.

Supercomputer technology

Professor Colin Bain, Vice-Provost (Research), said: “Durham is already an international centre for supercomputer technology, hosting the COSMA supercomputer, which is at the forefront of research that is unravelling the mysteries of the universe.

“Our expertise in supercomputers is well-established and we are delighted to host the NICE service, on behalf of the N8 Research Partnership, which will underpin advances in the application of machine learning to the analysis of experimental data.”

Find out more

  • Interested in studying scientific computing, data analysis and data-intensive science? Visit here to discover more.
  • See how TechUP is helping women train in computer science and find out more about our Computer Science department.

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