New e-science centre in Bristol
Press release issued: 13 May 2003
Bristol University has been selected to host one of the Government's new Regional e-Science Centres of Excellence, with collaborators at the University of the West of England and Exeter University.
e-Science is about global collaboration, via the Internet, in key areas of research. At the moment it is difficult to use the Internet as a conferencing tool, and even harder to use it for large-scale computations, but the technical improvements to be developed at the University should allow scientists in Bristol to share data on a global basis, and communicate with colleagues across the world as easily as those in the next room.
Major projects in science, engineering and social science increasingly collect large volumes of data that are stored on web pages or in expensive and remote facilities around the world. But many projects face a common problem when it comes to accessing the data, processing it and manipulating the results, since they require enormous computing facilities.
To combat these problems the University will develop a 'Grid' by connecting large farms of computers within various departments with fast links. This will mean that hundreds of computers within the University can talk to one another almost instantaneously. In addition, scientists will be able to access the Grid and communicate with each other using internet conferencing.
Professor Mark Birkinshaw who is heading up the initiative at Bristol University said: "We are in the midst of a revolution in the way that large-scale research is done. The new Grid will allow hundreds of computers to talk to one another at high speed, enabling large calculations to be done very quickly.
"Researchers will then be able get a good feel for the hidden information in the data, and perhaps even find patterns that are not obvious. The software and concepts that are developed under this programme will then become part of the national Grid's infrastructure."
The serious work of putting together the hardware will start later this year.