Superfast computer technology to be piloted in Highlands

Woman using a tablet Backers of the project say it will speed up computing tasks

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Superfast computer technology is to be piloted in the Highlands.

The project, to create a high performance computing (HPC) network, involves Fujitsu, Highland Council and business group Energy North.

A hub in the Highlands will be linked up to computer clusters in other parts of the UK and the rest of the world.

Those involved said the HPC would be able to handle huge amounts of data and do tasks in minutes that normally take days to complete.

Fujitsu, which has bases in Inverness and Alness, along with Highland Council and Energy North will run the trial for four months.

Energy North is a trade group with more than 200 members in the oil and gas, renewable energy and nuclear industries.

The Highland system will use a portal to connect initially to a HPC cluster in Wales and later to a pilot scheme in Northern Ireland.

It will also connect to Fujitsu operations at Hayes in Middlesex, the base for the Laboratories of Europe, a global network of research facilities in Europe, Japan and the US.

The HPC will allow companies in the Highlands to be able to link into computer technology previously unavailable.

'Pioneering project'

The Welsh HPC network, which connects six universities, as well as private sector companies, is capable of doing 320 trillion operations every second.

The Scottish pilot is also linked to efforts to create a Highland Science Skills Academy.

Drew Hendry, leader of Highland Council, said: "HPC opens up a new world of potential for the business and research community in the Highlands and beyond.

"It will put the region at the forefront of the HPC revolution in Scotland by providing access to unprecedented computing power to help develop products and processes that will benefit the wider economy.

"It fits perfectly with our plans to develop a Highland Science Skills Academy and together these pioneering developments could benefit people for generations to come."

Jim Brophy, Fujitsu's client director, described the HPC pilot as a "pioneering project".

Ian Couper, chief executive of Energy North, said: "Using HPC could bring vast rewards to the industry and help grow the Highlands' reputation as a leader in energy research and development - something we are working with the industry to achieve through the Energy North Oil and Gas Taskforce."

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