Demand for supercomputing Skills Academy in Wales soars

30/10/14

Milestone training figure reached as Swansea pharmaceutical firm takes on four Academy graduates

We are delighted to announce that we have now provided supercomputing training to over 1,500 users.   Our Skills Academy, which delivers a variety of courses and workshops aimed at building skills in high performance computing (HPC), has seen student numbers more than double in the past 12 months.

Launched in 2012, the Academy offers courses varying from an introduction to HPC to degree-level qualifications in computer science, as part of our aim to improve the knowledge economy in Wales.

Last month, over 300 students graduated from HPC Wales’ bursary-funded courses, with more expected next year.

A business benefitting from HPC Wales’ Skills Academy is Swansea-based Moleculomics, a university spin-out company dedicated to significantly reducing the time it takes for pharmaceutical companies to get new drugs to market.

The business, established in 2012, has created four new job roles, each of which have been given to trained students from the Academy. Their roles vary from analysing how and why people react differently to the same drugs to supporting significant projects for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The firm has been harnessing our supercomputing technology, training and support since May 2012 to make significant progress in the development of its drug discovery pipeline.

Rick Hillum, Chief Executive Officer of HPC Wales, said:

“We’re thrilled to reach such a substantial target of 1,500 users trained in HPC in such a short space of time.

“With student numbers on the rise, the number of talented individuals with the skills to support businesses with supercomputing technology is increasing – and it is fantastic to see this knowledge put into practice at Moleculomics.

“We are now calling for more businesses in Wales and beyond to step forward and find out what skilled supercomputing specialists can do for them. Our bursary schemes offer up to six months of funding for businesses to take on talented graduates with the skills to help them make the most of this technology. There has never been a better time for businesses to benefit from supercomputing technology in Wales.”

Sam Lamdin, a graduate of the HPC Wales Skills Academy and now Research Assistant at Moleculomics, said:

“I developed my supercomputing know-how while completing my master’s degree at Swansea University and I’m now able to apply those skills directly to my work at Moleculomics.

“This training has ensured that I’m well placed to complete advanced research with potentially significant consequences in the pharmaceutical industry. Our goal is to substantially speed up the time it takes to develop personalised drugs - and without supercomputing technology this simply wouldn’t be possible.”