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'Super Internet' to put region at forefront of scientific research

Posted on 17 April 2002

A massive multi million pound computer research system which will bring some of the best brains in the region together, has been developed by three Yorkshire universities.

The state-of-the-art computation grid system - the first of its kind in Europe - will provide high performance computing services for researchers of the three White Rose universities - York, Leeds and Sheffield.

The White Rose Computational Grid (WRCG) has been developed at a cost of £2.8 million and will go live this summer.

With £400,000 backing from the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, the system is set to put the region at the forefront of scientific research.

The purpose of a computational grid is to connect people working on the same projects who are based in different locations. Just as an electricity grid connects all sources of electricity, the information grid, described as a 'super internet', connects all users accessing the same research information.

The WRCG will enable researchers in mathematics, natural sciences, earth and environmental sciences and engineering to pool resources and knowledge. Researchers also believe that this new system will revolutionise processes in other areas such as medicine and manufacturing.

Technology for the 21st century

The £3 million DAME Project*, led by Professor Jim Austin of the University of York exemplifies how the grid can work in the field of engineering.

Meaning 'Distributed Aircraft Maintenance Environment', this project will allow engineers to access aeroengine maintenance data held in computers distributed around the world quickly and efficiently. The availability of this information will make diagnosis of engine maintenance problems far quicker than at present, and engineers will be also able to predict faults before they occur.

Professor Austin said:'The computational grid will enable researchers to access information that is scattered around the world, to solve problems and make an analysis of a situation. The DAME project is just one example that highlights how people will benefit - in this case aircraft operators and engineers will reap the rewards.

'The implications of such a project are huge - the knock-on effect is that this unique project will help to benefit many people in their everyday lives.'

Martin Doxey, Chief Executive of the White Rose Consortium, said: 'This pioneering project will certainly put the region in the spotlight. Grid computing is an area that's developing rapidly and I'm proud to say that the White Rose universities are at the forefront.

'The Grid also has great relevance for the region's economy. The fact that we can offer access to this massive amount of pooled research information will be an attractive research and development resource for businesses in many sectors. It may help companies looking to relocate to the Yorkshire region to make that final decision,' he added.

* The DAME project is a collaboration between Rolls Royce Aeroengines and its information system partner Data Systems and Solutions and Cybula Limited, with consultancy and project management from Wetherby-based Esteem Systems.

Notes to editors:

  • The White Rose Consortium is made up of the region's three most powerful research-based universities, Leeds, Sheffield and York. Its combined research power exceeds that of Oxford and Cambridge universities and accounts for 82% of the region's research spend. The Consortium has secured government funding to develop a variety of activities including commercial exploitation of research, joint postgraduate scholarships and industrial partnerships.
  • The WRCG is part of the United Kingdom's E-Science initiative, an initiative that aims to advance grid computing. The DAME project is one of six such E-Science projects and will be formally launched at the National E-Science Centre in Edinburgh on 25 April 2002.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153