Workshop review: 'Reducing Barriers to HPC Adoption for SMEs'

Author: William Lucas
Posted: 25 Nov 2019 | 12:45

On 14 November 2019, EPCC hosted the workshop ‘Reducing Barriers to HPC Adoption for SMEs’. Held in the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre, the one-day meeting’s aim was to increase awareness of the benefits of high-performance computing (HPC) use among European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular of the gateway offered to them through the HPC-Europa3 programme. In total twenty-six representatives from ten SMEs and three HPC-Europa3 centres attended.

The first talk of the day, given by EPCC's Gavin Pringle, covered the advantages that HPC can bring to SMEs and how EPCC is placed to provide these services. Catherine Inglis, also EPCC, followed with a more detailed overview of the HPC-Europa3 project. HPC-Europa3 aims to increase awareness and use of HPC by funding a transnational visit of three to 13 weeks. During that time, the visitor is given access to HPC facilities and expert support from the host country’s centre. Visitors and hosts may be any combination of academics or SMEs. In particular, HPC-Europa3’s provision of resources and expertise can be particularly advantageous to SMEs just beginning the transition to use of HPC when it may otherwise be prohibitively expensive or potentially a risk.

Chris Johnson of EPCC followed with a presentation on the PRACE SHAPE programme. SHAPE provides support for SMEs aiming to use HPC by, following a successful application, pairing them with an expert who will help them implement their project.

The following five talks were given by representatives of SMEs who have successfully incorporated HPC into their businesses. Stephanie Earp spoke first on how HPC resources have made it possible for Optic Earth to apply machine learning to geophysical imaging problems. Lucy MacGregor then discussed how Cognitive Geology have made use of machine learning to predict the most profitable sites for oil and gas exploration. Mark Howie and Alexey Tarutin from Global Surface Intelligence next gave a talk on how they have also used machine learning on HPC systems to, in near-real time, process huge amounts of satellite imaging data for clients.

Mengmeng Zhang discussed how HPC has enhanced Airinnova AB’s work designing aircraft, ensuring improved turnaround time while maintaining accuracy, and covered the assistance and resources provided by HPC-Europa3 for their AGILE project. The final speaker of the day was Alberto Marzo from the University of Sheffield. Alberto’s talk summarised how HPC has helped CompBioMed, an EU Centre of Excellence, develop and commercialise biomedical software, paying particular attention to his own work with HPC on cardiovascular modelling. HPC-Europa3 visits have played highly beneficial roles in CompBioMed.

Attendees had a wonderful view from the Bayes Centre's top floor.



William Lucas, EPCC

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