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Abstract: The ExCALIBUR (Exascale Computing Algorithms and Infrastructures Benefitting UK Research) is a £45.7m Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) programme led by the Met Office, UKAEA and UK Research and Innovation to deliver research and innovative algorithmic development to harness the power of exascale HPC. ExCALIBUR will be delivered over five years through a suite of complementary activities delivered by UK Research and Innovation, the Met Office and UKAEA: a knowledge integration activity; activities to address high priority use cases; supporting emerging requirements for high-performance algorithms; cross-cutting research; and proof-of-concept hardware –(the Hardware and Enabling Software Programme).

The Exascale definitions we use are activity based:

ExCALIBUR has made 10 awards for software use code development for exascale computing and 5 awards to develop a hardware and enabling software fore-sighting programme. The latter will provide a testbed area that uses pre-commercial equipment for software prototyping and development and has two main purposes:

enable the software development community to be ready to use commercial products effectively as soon as they come on to the market and provide the UK exascale community with the ability to influence the technology industry and the necessary knowledge to guide their purchase decisions.

In this seminar, Richard Gunn (Head of E-Infrastructure, EPSRC-UKRI) and Jeremy Yates (UCL) will provide an overview of the ExCALIBUR programme, describe current and future activities, and demonstrate opportunities for the UK RSE community to be involved in the programme’s development. It will also briefly outline the aims of the 10 Software Code Development Projects and the 5 hardware and enabling software projects and discuss how these projects will interact. Also, via a suitable benchmarking strategy, ExCALIBUR will produce quantitative methodologies, procedures, tools, and mini-apps, which will be used to benchmark systems, codes and applications that do not yet exist. This will allow benchmarks to be used to design new systems, appliances and applications, as well as be used to test and optimise existing systems and applications.

Richard Gunn, Head of E-Infrastructure, UKRI-EPSRC: Richard is responsible for the development of EPSRC’s e-infrastructure programme, including the commissioning and oversight of a portfolio of research and training investments. His responsibilities include delivering the UK’s new high performance computer service – ARCHER2 – for the EPSRC and NERC communities and leading the development of UKRI’s contribution to the ExCALIBUR programme. Since joining UKRI-EPSRC in 2012, Richard has managed a range of research and training portfolios in computer science, materials engineering and quantum technologies. In his previous role he was responsible for developing EPSRC’s peer review policy and operations. Prior to joining UKRI-EPSRC, Richard worked for a leading firm of patent attorneys where he worked with inventors, start-ups, universities, SMEs and multinationals, on a variety of intellectual property issues. Richard holds Masters degrees in chemistry from the University of Leeds and Imperial College London, and holds a PhD in chemical biology from Imperial College London.

Jeremey Yates: Jeremy Yates studied Natural Science (Physics) at Pembroke College Cambridge (1989) and developed an abiding interest in radio astronomy and computing. At Jodrell Bank he completed a PhD in Radio Astronomy studying mass loss from AGB stars. His first research assistantship was at Bristol (1993-1996) in the area of detailed photon transport modelling of molecular Maser emission. This was followed by further posts at University of Hertfordshire (1996-2002) and UCL (2002-To Date). He is still active in the following areas of research; star formation, stellar evolution, photon transport, data science, AI and computer science. In 2010 he helped found the STFC DiRAC HPC facility (http://www.dirac.ac.uk>) and served as its first Director from 2010-2017. He also assisted with the creation of the STFC IRIS Facility, http://www.iris.ac.uk, (2018-2020). The computing facilities, DIRAC and IRIS, support numerical simulation and high performance data science respectively, in the areas of Astronomy, Particle Physics and Nuclear Physics; IRIS also has mission to support research in the Physical Sciences, Engineering, Biology, Health, and Infrastructure sectors. He is currently the Director of Innovation and Technology for the DiRAC Facility and in 2019 became the Joint-Lead of the UK’s ExCALIBUR exascale computing Hardware and Enabling Software Programme.

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