Leveraging world-class connectivity and equipment to support Rolls-Royce R&D

Leveraging world-class connectivity and equipment to support Rolls-Royce R&D

Jisc-SoR-IntrorThrough an agreement with Jisc, Rolls-Royce is leveraging the world-leading Janet network and getting access to the latest technology equipment and infrastructure - using the HPC Midlands supercomputing centre of excellence at Loughborough University - to supercharge its R&D efforts.

One of the over-arching recommendations of last year’s Dowling Review – which considered how better to support business-university collaborations and maintain the strength of the UK’s research base – was that, wherever possible, initiatives should offer ‘simple as possible’ interfaces between the user and the scheme that ‘hide the wiring’.

Jisc has been working hard to make this aim a reality, using a three-fold approach: piloting standard terms and conditions for access to £60m of publicly-funded supercomputing facilities and expertise; opening up industrial connectivity to the Janet network that provides up to 10 Gigabits/second to speed up R&D; and working with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to make the details of more than £200m worth of high value equipment available for sharing between institutions and with industry.

The first strand of activity has seen Jisc develop a High Performance Computing (HPC) brokerage scheme in collaboration with the EPSRC’s HPC Midlands supercomputing centre of excellence at Loughborough University.

Rolls-Royce already collaborates with Loughborough University through its University Technology Centres, and the two organisations have a number of active R&D engagements that are heavily dependent on computer-based modelling and simulation.

What Loughborough and Rolls-Royce needed from Jisc was a robust ‘industrial strength’ agreement that would allow the two organisations to collaborate more efficiently and effectively through easier sharing of assets and expertise. This needed to address corporate concerns about information assurance, whilst also setting out service levels that the company could expect – including procedures for escalation.

To further accelerate new research innovations, Rolls-Royce will also be taking a connection to the Janet network - the second strand in Jisc’s three-fold approach to supporting industry-academic collaboration.

Dr Yoon Ho, Rolls-Royce HPC Lead said:
“We have been impressed by the professional approach that Jisc and HPC Midlands have taken to this project, in particular around our tough information security and export control requirements, and we see a very bright future for our collaboration”

Jisc’s Janet Reach scheme for industrial connectivity leverages some £30m of public investment in ultra-fast connectivity. To support the work that Rolls-Royce and Loughborough are doing, a network circuit operating at 10 Gigabits per second will be installed by Jisc. This will make it possible for Rolls-Royce staff to transfer complex Computational Fluid Dynamics models and test results back and forth to the HPC Midlands supercomputer in something approaching real time.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Jisc to develop what we hope will become a standardised approach for providing industry access to supercomputing facilities. In years to come we hope that it becomes accepted practice for research and industry to share these kinds of high tech facilities and expertise,” says Professor Steven Kenny, Director, HPC Midlands.

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