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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y008618/1
Title: ExCALIBUR HES DWAVE Quantum Annealing Credits
Principal Investigator: Basden, Dr AG
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 May 2023 Ends: 31 July 2023 Value (£): 27,624
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture New & Emerging Comp. Paradigms
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies R&D
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Jan 3000 Large Research Infrastructure Outline Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In 2018, the Exascale Computing ALgorithms & Infrastructures for the Benefit of UK Research

(ExCALIBUR) programme was proposed by the Met Office, CCFE and EPSRC (on behalf of UKRI). The

goal of ExCALIBUR is to redesign high priority computer codes and algorithms, keeping UK research and

development at the forefront of high-performance simulation science. The challenge spans many disciplines

and as such the programme of research will be delivered through a partnership between the Met Office and

UKRI Research Councils. Research software engineers and scientists will work together to future proof the

UK against the fast-moving changes in supercomputer designs. This combined scientific expertise will push

the boundaries of science across a wide range of fields delivering transformational change at the cutting-

edge of scientific supercomputing. As part of the ExCALIBUR initiative £4.5M in capital funding has been

set aside to develop a 4.5-year foresighting programme, ExCALIBUR Hardware and Enabling Software,

which is the subject of this proposal.

The £4.5m capital is intended to provide a testbed area that uses pre-commercial equipment for software

prototyping and development. It has two main purposes: (1) to enable the software community to be ready

to use commercial products effectively as soon as they come on to the market; and (2) to provide the UKRI

HPC community with the ability to influence industry and the necessary knowledge to guide their purchase

decisions. This will ensure that facilities and the future UK National e-Infrastructure are in a position to

maximise value for money by getting the most powerful systems exactly suited to the communities' needs.

This double-pronged approach will give UK researchers a competitive advantage internationally.

ExCALIBUR will now establish a set of modest-sized, adaptable clusters dedicated solely to this purpose

and embedded within established HPC environments. Although small, they need to be of a scale capable

of carrying out meaningful performance studies. They are expected to be co-funded with industry partners

and will initially require investments of £200k-£300k each and will allow a range of future hardware to be

assessed for its relevance to the delivery of UKRI science and innovation. The pre-commercial equipment

will be refreshed and added to on a regular, likely to be annual, basis. This agile tactic is designed to take

advantage of the different approaches across industry.

ExCALIBUR can use the hardware piloting systems to drive software innovation across the UKRI research

community. Researchers are rightly reluctant to invest time in code development to take advantage of new

hardware which may not be available at scale for several years or may even prove not to have longevity -

scientific leadership demands that research funding is used to deliver science results now. In addition,

DiRAC and others will offer funded RSE effort to support the development work combined with access to

novel technologies within modest-sized systems, ExCALIBUR can lower the bar for engaging with the

process of software re-engineering and encourage researchers to make the necessary (modest)

investments of their time. In some cases, there may also be the potential for some immediate science

outputs by exploiting the proof-of-concept systems.

ExCALIBUR will thus be able to provide an incentive for greater software innovation across the UKRI

research communities and help to ensure that when novel technology is included in national services, there

are workflows that are already able to exploit it optimally. This will increase productivity across all UKRI

computing services and enable UK researchers to use the latest hardware to deliver the largest and most

complex calculations, ensuring international leadership
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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