University given £5.5m grant for computer development

Oxford University has been given a £5.5m grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to help develop computers usable for the highest levels of scientific research. The project, known as JADE 2 (standing for Joint Academic Data Science Endeavour), aims to develop computers for research into AI, machine learning, and molecular dynamics, a method of simulating the movements of microscopic particles.

JADE 2 is headed by Professor Wes Armour, a member of the Oxford Department of Engineering Science and the Oxford e-Research Centre. It is the successor to JADE, a high performance computing project started in 2016 with the purpose of furthering scientific research through the use of supercomputers.

The computers will be housed at the STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) Hartree Centre, a facility founded with a £37.5 million grant in 2012 to promote UK research into supercomputing.

The grant forms part of a larger funding package of £27m for seven high performance computing services, coming from the EPSRC, the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK.

The EPSRC is also part of UK Research and Innovation, a government body tasked with funding research and development within the United Kingdom. The Executive Chair of the EPSRC, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden stated: “Computation is becoming an ever-more important scientific tool, be it for analysing large data sets generated from experimental work or modelling situations which can’t be replicated in experiments.

“The High Performance Computing services announced today will give researchers access to the tools they need to make breakthroughs in a wide range of fields that impact on how we live our lives.

“These include heterogeneous catalysis – modelling chemical processes which contribute to the production of items used in everyday life – understanding the performance of materials for better batteries for electric vehicles and other energy storage applications, and using advanced computational drug design for therapeutics targeting a large variety of health conditions.”

Oxford is the lead University undertaking the project amongst a variety of other academic institutions and organisations, including the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Exeter, Lancaster, Leeds, Loughborough, Sheffield, Southampton, Surrey, Warwick and York, Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London, Imperial College London, UCL, Newcastle University, and the Alan Turing Institute.


Image credit: Department of Engineering Science, JThomas via geog,


Sign up for the newsletter!

Want to contribute? Join our contributors’ group here or email us – click here for contact details