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UK government funds Big Data challenge

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A £30 million government investment in supercomputing research has been announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, as he visited the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Daresbury Laboratory.  

The investment, part of the £600m announced in the 2012 Autumn Statement, is designed to firmly establish the UK as the world leader in energy efficient supercomputer software development to meet Big Data challenges.

Economy-boosting partnerships between research and industry are just some of the benefits poised to come from investment that will confirm the UK as a leader in the development of energy efficient super-technologies and software.

Some £19 million of this investment has been allocated to Daresbury’s Laboratory’s Hartree Centre, the world’s largest centre dedicated to software development and home to the most powerful supercomputer in the UK.  

The investment will support the progress of power efficient computing technologies designed for a range of industrial and scientific applications, and particularly in the development of software that can handle the huge amounts of data created by large experimental research initiatives, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and CERN, the largest generators of scientific data in existence.

Osborne said: 'Britain is in a global race and we are in a position to lead the way in science and technology. Projects like the Daresbury development are crucial to boosting the economy and putting the UK at the forefront of the big data revolution.'

The other £11m has been earmarked for the SKA, the world’s largest radio telescope, to develop the software capable of handling the unprecedented amount of data it would produce. To put this into perspective, the data collected by the SKA in a single day would take nearly two million years to playback on an iPod.