Finance Minister visits EU-backed Welsh supercomputing network powering business and academia


HPC Wales were delighted to welcome Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM and Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to the Swansea Hub this month.

The Ministers visited the site to learn how HPC Wales is helping universities and businesses access supercomputing facilities to drive forward research and achieve commercial success.

During her visit, Finance Minister Jane Hutt said:

“I am pleased to see how EU Funds are being utilised to benefit businesses and our academic institutions. It is vital we support industry, small and larger companies in order to develop new intellectual property, products and services which can help them compete globally and win new business.

“So far, EU projects have helped 149,450 individuals to gain qualifications and some 51,400 have been helped into work. In addition, some 20,300 jobs and nearly 6,000 enterprises have been created.”

HPC Wales has already assisted over 100 enterprises, with 48 collaborative projects underway and many more in the pipeline.

One business who hopes to benefit from HPC Wales is Swansea-based We Predict. Established in 2009, We Predict assists customers to address critical business problems using predictive analytics.

We Predict's core market is the automotive sector and is currently on the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) short list for automotive innovation. It provides a data analytics service, which forecasts component failures in cars, trucks and off road vehicles enabling the creation of preventative solutions to avoid these failures.

We Predict is now expanding its business into the healthcare sector. To achieve this, the firm is developing a research proposal in conjunction with HPC Wales.

HPC Wales hopes to support We Predict’s Health project to forecast patients’ health and healthcare usage by providing access to the vast and complex Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank.  A team of mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and a medical doctor plan to develop health tools and techniques to improve patient experience, planning and health outcomes.

Dr Kerry Bailey, Health Lead at We Predict, said:

“The NHS collects a large amount of data.  Our research will be examining commonly collected primary care data to develop a model on the likelihood of individuals having an emergency admission to hospital.

"For example, in asthma patients, up to three in four emergency admissions could be avoided by identifying patients most at risk early and putting preventative strategies in place. We hope this project will result in a better quality of life for patients, as well as easing the strain on the NHS.

“Our research is dependent on gaining approval from the SAIL Information Governance Review Panel for access to the large volumes of data in the SAIL database and will not be possible without the support of HPC Wales.”

David Craddock, Chief Executive Officer of HPC Wales, added:

“We were delighted to welcome the Finance Ministers to our Swansea hub.

“It is also great to welcome We Predict to talk about their innovative research and how they hope to benefit from HPC Wales' services. We Predict’s innovative research has the potential to make a significant positive difference to the NHS.

“A growing number of SMEs are now becoming aware that access to supercomputing technology can help them attain a competitive advantage and our aim is to train and support them to get the most benefits from the technology.”