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Home > iSGTW 30 April 2008 > iSGTW Announcement - UK e-Science centers win continued funding


Announcement - UK e-Science centers win continued funding, a project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and run out of the South-East Regional e-Research Consortium, has engaged the spare computing power of more than 300,000 home computers to run models of future climate.
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Four UK e-science centers have been awarded grants totaling just under £4 million to continue developing new e-science technologies and promote their adoption in academia and industry over the next five years.

The centers are: National e-Science Centre (based at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow); the Belfast e-Science Centre (based at Queen’s University Belfast); the South-East Regional e-Research Consortium (based at Oxford, Reading and Southampton universities); the White Rose Grid e-Science Centre (based at the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York).

The grants have been awarded by the UK e-Science Core Programme, which is funded and managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The funding will enable the centers to provide core staff and services to run e-science research projects and to participate in separately-funded projects that make use of or develop e-science tools.

Each center has already enjoyed considerable success in providing grid and e-science infrastructure and resources locally and engaging the local research community in projects across a wide range of subject areas to achieve new, better or different research results. A few highlights include:
National e-Science Centre 
  • A framework for clinical trials, developed under the VOTES project which was funded by the Medical Research Council, is being used in major studies throughout Europe. The framework provides secure access to sensitive medical data.
  • nanoCMOS, funded by the EPSRC, has developed a grid infrastructure to allow designers of electronic circuits to work with increasingly small-scale (nano-scale) transistor devices, the behaviour of which is highly variable, governed by individual atoms rather than the average behaviour of large collections of atoms. More than 250,000 jobs (equivalent to more than 25cpu years) have now been completed. Future projects are planned which build on these and other successes.  
Belfast e-Science Centre
  • Applications focus on broadcast and digital media, financial services and bioinformatics.
  • The PRISM project, funded by the Technology Strategy Board, is demonstrating how grid computing can make content from a variety of digital sources, including broadcast and web-based media, available to viewers on-demand from their TV sets.  
  • BeSC is enabling companies in financial services to make better use of their own computing infrastructures while fulfilling their legal requirements especially for data security.
South-East Regional e-Research Consortium 
  •, a project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, has engaged the spare computing power of more than 300,000 home computers to run models of future climate.
  • The OptiPuter initiative enables researchers in the UK and US, who have independently developed two of the worlds most advanced electron microscopes, to control the other’s instrument from their home institution and so share resources across the Atlantic.
  • Virtual globes, such as Google Earth, are being used to visualise environmental data.
  • Electronic lab notebooks have been used to automate high throughput chemistry and biology experiments from experimental set-up to the publication of results.
White Rose Grid e-Science Centre
  • The DAME and BROADEN projects have developed a grid infrastructure to enable Rolls Royce to automate the analysis of signal data from aeroengines and hence improve its service to its customers.
  • The Virtual Vellum project has enabled scholars in remote locations to view images of rare medieval manuscripts in real time and hence forge new ways of collaborating.
    Grid middleware, developed with Beihang University in China, is being used to foster UK-China research collaborations, especially involving industry and in the social science.



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