Irish computing group funded for oceanic research by US body

15 Jul 2016

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) has been backed by US authorities to research wave-forecasting tools, continuing a two-year partnership that has so far secured €523,000 in funding for the centre.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is continuing its partnership with the ICHEC, as well as Intel, with research into its operational wave-forecasting code WaveWatch III continuing at the Irish centre for a further two years.


Future Human

The Intel Parallel Computing Centre (IPCC) at the ICHEC is the site that has received the funding, with a further €123,000 now added to the original €400,000 funding from 2014.

The project will see ICHEC help modernise WaveWatch III for the “efficient exploitation” of Intel’s latest Xeon Phi many-core processor. The aim is to both improve the performance of the wave-measurement software, while reducing energy output and, essentially, running costs.

NOAA’s Dr Arun Chawla said the organisation was “very excited” to work with ICHEC, which will be headed by Dr Michael Lysaght. His team will bring “a unique set of skills to optimise the code and improve its computational efficiency,” said Chawla.

There are IPCCs dotted around the world, with the Irish operation becoming the sixth such centre when it was awarded the title from Intel back in 2013.

Prof JC Desplat, director of ICHEC, said the partnership shows how small countries like Ireland can play a major role in software development.

Writing for last month, Desplat explained how, over the last 10 years, over 1,000 researchers in Ireland have helped provide discovery and innovation in ‘dark energy’. As well as ocean studies in which NOAA is involved, Desplat noted CSO and Eurostat projects to improve economic and societal measurements as some of the other programmes also benefiting from ICHEC involvement.

Data visualisation image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic