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Life Sciences is discovering High Performance Computing. Effects on innovation explored at HPC Midlands Industry Breakfast

Life Sciences is the third largest industrial sector for use of high performance computing (HPC) in the UK. While the entire sector is facing the challenges of bigger datasets and increasingly complex models there are early adopter fields like chemistry, bio-engineering, molecular biology and pharmacology taking advantage of hardware designed to quickly find a needle in the proliferating haystack.

With some of the East Midlands most established experts in chemical engineering, medical design, regenerative medicine and all things sport (among many other fields) Loughborough University was a prime place for the establishment of an EPSRC Regional Centre of Excellence for High Performance Computing in 2012. The Centre, HPC Midlands, has provided access to the region’s most advanced supercomputer for dozens of industry-academic research projects and has developed a strong technical support network for users regardless of their prior experience with supercomputing. Use of the Centre, including its strategic software and training partners, has also been established as a cloud-based service for private industry.

As Innovation Centres in Nottingham, Derby and Loughborough increasingly attract Life Sciences companies to the region HPC Midlands is providing the low-cost, low-risk hardware solution to the sector’s requirements for innovation. How the East Midlands is developing opportunities to meet those requirements will be a main topic at an Industry Breakfast hosted by HPC Midlands on June 16th at Loughborough University. The Head of Innovation at Medilink East Midlands, Dr Ros Graves, will lay out the current landscape for innovation opportunities and the advantages regional facilities like HPC Midlands provides in increasing a company’s attractiveness to funders and collaborators.

HPC is proving to be invaluable for modelling biological networks, simulating organ function and keeping up with the data deluge generated by modern ‘omics’, genome sequencing and clinical trials but ultimately commercial projects gain competitive advantage with HPC through an increased speed to market whether that be simulating steps in the drug discovery process or quicker iterations in the development of advanced medical equipment.

“We’ve got data and information all around us,” said Jonathan Mitchener, Lead Technology ICT for Innovate UK and keynote speaker at the HPC Midlands Industry Breakfast. “To be able to process that information and that data in meaningful ways in short amounts of time we need that extra computing power.”

The HPC Midlands Industry Breakfast is on June 16th from 8:00-10:30am at Loughborough University. A full programme and registration is available at Link

More information about HPC Midlands is available at Link