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AGCC- Robert Gordon University awarded €638,000 funding boost for advanced computing research

Researchers at Robert Gordon University’s Institute for Innovation, Design and Sustainability Research (IDEAS) have been awarded €638,000 as part of a European Commission-funded project to undertake world-leading research to improve the performance of modern computing technology.

The €3.5 million ParaPhrase Project, supported by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and Technological Development - the EU’s main instrument for funding research - will bring together expertise from academic institutions and industry specialists across five countries, including St Andrews University, who will co-ordinate the project.

Set to be launched at an event in Italy next week and due to run for 3 years, the project at RGU will involve academics, researchers and PhD students of parallel computing and computational science at the School of Computing and IDEAS Research Institute.

In the last three decades, computer microprocessor speeds have increased almost 4000 times with the rapid growth of modern technology. Today, users are starting to hit long-predicted physical limits on the speed of a single processor. With the emergence and development of mobile technology including smartphones and iPads, computing experts around the world are now battling to provide a software solution to match the speed that modern society demands in its computer processors.

The ParaPhrase Project will look to exploit high performance computers effectively to support modern demands for computing power in business, and industry, maximising the speed of processors working together ‘in parallel’ to give peak performance.

Dr Horacio González-Vélez, a lecturer at the School of Computing and Principal Investigator of the project at RGU, explains:

“All contemporary devices and computers furnish one or more multi-core processors. While it’s great that you have a fast, multi-core processor in your iPad or smartphone, unless the applications on these technologies are able to take full advantage of the processor’s capabilities, users will not see any real improvement. Multiply this by the millions of devices in the world, and you will appreciate the overwhelming size of the challenge at hand.”

“In order to efficiently programme computer systems to maximise their potential functions, we must produce software now that is easy to write and still allows current and future hardware to be used effectively.”

As well as immediate benefits to mobile technology, multi-core servers and PCs, the research has long-term implications for industry, in more efficient renewable energy production, faster video streaming, nimbler 3D-image modelling, and improved industrial production systems.

Dr Gonzalez-Velez adds: “Certainly, the challenges and difficulties of parallel programming concern computing specialists and experts, but finding out why these exist and what we can do to solve them has practical applications in everyday technology for individuals, businesses and industry.”

Professor Susan Craw, Director of IDEAS, adds: “I’m delighted that RGU will be involved in the ParaPhrase Project, which could position Europe at the cutting-edge of parallel computing, helping to address the multi-core challenge.”

The project involves six academic institutions including St Andrews University, Robert Gordon University, the University of Stuttgart in Germany, Queens’ University Belfast, and the Universities of Torino and Pisa in Italy. Experts from industrial partners include Erlang Solutions Ltd in the UK, Mellanox Ltd in Israel and the Software Competence Centre in Austria.

For more information on the project, please visit