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RePhrase project develops tools for AI

A team of academic researchers and industrial experts are concluding a successful three-year research collaboration which has tackled the challenges of producing new software for high-performance AI and other data-intensive applications.

The €3.6M RePhrase project brought together leading academic and industrial experts from across Europe to improve software engineering techniques and performance of modern parallel computing technologies.

Project Coordinator, Professor Kevin Hammond of the University of St Andrews, said: ‘This has been an amazingly successful collaboration that places Europe at the forefront of software development practice, bringing together industry and academia in the first study of its kind.’

‘The team has worked hard to tackle major new challenges in ensuring software productivity, reliability and performance.  This is especially important for emerging applications in AI and big data, such as driverless vehicles and medical informatics’ Hammond added.

The project involved four academic institutions: The University of St Andrews in the UK, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain, the University of Pisa and the University of Torino in Italy, and five industrial collaborators: IBM Israel Science & Technology, the Software Competence Centre Hagenberg in Austria, CIBERSAM in Spain, EvoPro Innovation in Hungary and Programming Research from the UK.

The outputs of the project include publishing more than 124 research papers and articles in leading international conferences and journals and demonstrating work at more than 100 conferences and other events.

The team of researchers developed a range of new software tools and programming language standards to support multi-core software engineering and a software tool – ParaFormance - being developed by a University spin-off venture from the University of St Andrews

The team also released a new version of FastFlow parallel programming framework, The GRPPI Framework for high-level and easy programming of parallel systems; and the FOCUS and EXPLISAT systems from IBM for automatically testing and verifying parallel programs. The QA verify and QA-C++ software system from PRQA for quality assurance, and the RePhrase standard compliance module covering the checks for multi-threading and parallelisation.

Industrial partners are already applying the technology, and the recently launched spin-out opportunity from the University of St Andrews will take full commercial advantage of RePhrase technologies.

The RePhrase partners are now looking to the future. A number of follow-on projects are underway, including the newly funded €5.5M TeamPlay and €4.5M HPC4AI projects, as well as more joint work being proposed to ensure the RePhrase legacy.

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