Grid computing

An innovative computational service will speed research and development for organisations developing or applying novel materials.


The University of Cambridge is a major contributor on a project funded by the Department of Trade and Industry to deliver an innovative computational service to speed research and development for organisations developing or applying novel materials.


The UK Government’s Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, David Sainsbury, recently announced funding of £930,000 ($1.7m) in support of the project.


The project aims to create a unique database of critical electronic and physical materials properties based on highly accurate quantum mechanical simulation methods.


Scientists will then use a web portal to rapidly search the database, receiving pre-computed properties where available, or triggering new calculations that fill in missing data.


Users will be able to donate data and computer grid resources in exchange for access, ensuring the continued growth of the service.


The team from the University of Cambridge will include Professor Martin Dove from the Department of Earth Sciences and The National Institute for Environmental eScience (NIEeS), Professor Peter Murray-Rust from the Department of Chemistry’s Unilever Centre, and Professor Andy Parker from the Department of Physics’ Cambridge eScience Centre.


The University of Cambridge will provide a substantial part of the grid computing environment.


In part, the work will build upon the successes of existing eScience projects that these partners run, including the eMinerals and World-wide Molecular Matrix projects.


The University is working with Accelrys, IBM, Daresbury Laboratory and Frankfurt University.


Accelrys will manage the project, provide scientific and software development expertise, and commercialise the resulting technology.