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UK Hartree Center Partners with IBM on Big Data

Hartree_logoToday the UK government announced a £313 million partnership with information technology leader IBM to boost Big Data research in the UK.

We live in an information economy – from the smart devices we use every day to the super-computers that helped find the Higgs Boson, the power of advanced computing means we now have access to vast amounts of data,” said Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson. “This partnership with IBM, which builds on our £113 million investment to expand the Hartree Centre, will help businesses make the best use of Big Data to develop better products and services that will boost productivity, drive growth and create jobs.”

In the UK, the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) will be accessing the first OpenPOWER high performance computing server — an advanced data centric computing system that combines technologies from OpenPOWER Foundation members IBM, NVIDIA, and Mellanox.

IBM’s contributions will include:

  • Access to the latest data-centric and cognitive computing technologies, including its world-class ‘Watson’ cognitive computing platform;
  • At least 24 IBM researchers to be based at the Hartree Centre to work side-by-side with existing researchers;
  • Joint commercialization of intellectual property assets produced in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which runs the Hartree Centre.

Advanced data-centric and cognitive computing technologies enable non-computer specialists to gain insight from the vast amounts of data being generated today, and do so in a more natural, human-friendly way. Delivered through the cloud, IBM’s Watson analyses high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. It continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions.

The expansion of our collaboration with STFC builds upon Hartree’s successful engagement with industry and its record in commercializing technological developments, and provides a world-class environment using Watson and OpenPOWER technologies to extend the boundaries of Big Data and cognitive computing,” said David Stokes, Chief Executive for IBM in the UK and Ireland. “The Hartree Centre will directly benefit from breakthrough innovations rapidly emerging from the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community backed by IBM, NVIDIA, Mellanox and well over 100 other organizations worldwide. The research program will leverage OpenPOWER high performance computing innovations to enable complex analytics on massive amounts of data.”

STFC and IBM will engage in collaborative projects with third parties and draw on the scientific excellence of UK universities to develop advanced software solutions to address real world challenges in academia, industry and government.

More than two dozen IBM researchers will be based at the Hartree Centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury, and will work side-by-side with the Centre’s researchers to develop new tools, algorithms and approaches to Big Data that will help UK industry and commerce take greater advantage of the wealth of insights hidden in that data.

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