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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L01503X/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism
Principal Investigator: O'Boyle, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Cole, Professor M Parsons, Professor M Smaill, Dr A
Viglas, Dr S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Agilent Technologies Ltd ARM Ltd Wolfson Microelectronics
Department: Sch of Informatics
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 31 March 2024 Value (£): 3,937,632
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Fundamentals of Computing
Networks & Distributed Systems Parallel Computing
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Electronics
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel I Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The worldwide software market, estimated at $250 billion per annum, faces a disruptive challenge unprecedented since its inception: for performance and energy reasons, parallelism and heterogeneity now pervade every layer of the computing systems infrastructure, from the internals of commodity processors (manycore), through small scale systems (GPGPUs and other accelerators) and on to globally distributed systems (web, cloud). This pervasive parallelism renders the hierarchies, interfaces and methodologies of the sequential era unviable. Heterogeneous parallel hardware requires new methods of compilation for new programming languages supported by new system development strategies. Parallel systems, from nano to global, create difficult new challenges for modelling, simulation, testing and verification. This poses a set of urgent interconnected problems of enormous significance, impacting and disrupting all research and industrial sectors which rely upon computing technology. Our CDT will generate a stream of more than 50 experts, prepared to address these challenges by taking up key roles in academic and industrial research and development labs, working to shape the future of the industry. The research resources and industrial connections available to our CDT make us uniquely well placed within the UK to deliver on these aspirations.

The "pervasive parallelism challenge" is to undertake the fundamental research and design required to transform methods and practice across all levels of the ICT infrastructure, in order to exploit these new technological opportunities. Doing so will allow us to raise the management of heterogeneous concurrency and parallelism from a niche activity in the care of experts, to a regularised component of the mainstream. This requires a steady flow of highly educated, highly skilled practitioners, with the ability to relate to opportunities at every level and to communicate effectively with specialists in related areas. These highly skilled graduates must not only have deep expertise in their own specialisms, but crucially, an awareness of relationships to the surrounding computational system.

The need for fundamental work on heterogeneous parallelism is globally recognised by diverse interest groups. In the USA, reports undertaken by the Computing Community Consortium and the National Research Council recognise the paradigm shift needed for this technology to be incorporated into research and industry alike. Both these reports were used as fundamental arguments in initiating the call for proposals by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on Exploiting Parallelism and Scalability, in the context of the NSF's Advanced Computing Infrastructure: Vision and Strategic Plan which calls for fundamental research to answer the question of "how to enable the computational systems that will support emerging applications without the benefit of near-perfect performance scaling from hardware improvements." Similarly, the European Union has identified the need for new models of parallelism as part of its Digital Agenda. Under the agenda goals of Cloud Computing and Software and Services, parallelism plays a crucial role and the Commission asserts the need for a deeper understanding and new models of parallel computation that will enable future technology. Given the UK's global leadership status it is imperative that similar questions be posed and answered here.

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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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