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OCF DATA signs agreement with Panintelligence to integrate Business Intelligence and Analytics

We’re pleased to announce that OCF DATA has recently signed a partnership agreement with Panintelligence.

Panintelligence PI allows users to gain a multi-dimensional view of their business, anywhere, any time, and on any device. It offers intuitive dashboards comprised from in-enterprise and third party data from various business process areas. Users drill-down into different data sets for instant analysis and insights that allow management to drive improvements in business or process performance.

Cliff Brereton, Director at OCF DATA comments, “Quite often our customers have all the answers to optimal performance contained within their data, but due to the sheer size of the data held it is impossible to extract these insights and put them to use in optimising performance without appropriate tools such as PI. This is an exciting opportunity for us to help those clients who are wanting to get started with their data journey and deliver better operational performance. Our partnership with Panintelligence will provide the technology and the know-how to make these performance improvements a reality.

The new partnership will see OCF DATA and Panintelligence provide solutions for four key industries; manufacturing, higher education, healthcare and utilities. Both companies will be present as exhibitors at MACH2018 in April, which is the UK’s leading manufacturing technologies event, showcasing how the Panintelligence dashboards can help with optimising production performance, forecasting production volumes & supply chain and enhancing customer engagement.

Zandra Moore, Sales and Marketing Director at Panintelligence commented, “We are delighted to welcome OCF DATA into the Panintelligence partner community. OCF DATA is a strategic adviser and data consultancy business, working in some of our core markets. We look forward to working together to drive the pace of change in these sectors by improving outcomes through self-service data analysis.”

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CLIMB victorious at HPC Wire Readers’ Choice Awards

A solution designed and integrated by OCF has been announced as a winner in two categories at the 2017 HPC Wire Readers’ Choice Awards.

Announced at SuperComputing 2017 in Denver, USA, the Cloud Infrastructure for Microbial Bioinformatics, (CLIMB) has won the award for ‘Best Use of HPC in Life Sciences’ and ‘Best HPC Collaboration in Academia, Government or Industry’.

CLIMB is a UK based cloud project funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council to support research by academic microbiologists.  The current live system is located across the Universities of Birmingham, Cardiff and Warwick.

The Best Use of HPC in Life Sciences Award was awarded for real-time analysis of Zika genomes using CLIMB cloud computing, supported by Lenovo, OpenStack, IBM, Red Hat and Dell EMC.  The Best HPC Collaboration in Academia, Government or Industry was awarded to CLIMB for the provision of resources for projects that globally impact public health, using the expertise of Lenovo, OpenStack, IBM Spectrum Scale, Red Hat, and Dell EMC.

Simon Thompson, Research Computing Specialist who built the initial CLIMB pilot system comments, “We are delighted that CLIMB’s achievements have been recognised by the HPC Wire Readers’ Choice Awards.  CLIMB is one of the most complex environments we’ve had to build, learning a lot of new technologies. We were able to work with our contacts at OCF, IBM and Lenovo to help us build such a successful HPC platform.”

CLIMB is one of the first multi-site OpenStack deployments in the UK dedicated to supporting the needs of research computing and remains the only truly federated academic research cloud operating in the UK. A fourth node, based at Swansea, is currently under development and due for launch later in 2017.

Since building the CLIMB cloud, the research partnership has expanded to include the Universities of Bath and Leicester as well as the BBSRC funded Quadram Institute. It’s open to all microbial researchers in the UK and has even been used to support training courses in the Gambia and Vietnam. Currently, CLIMB supports over 200 research groups from across academia, government and healthcare.

One recent project using the CLIMB infrastructure was research into the Zika virus. Professor Nick Loman, Professor of Microbial Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of Birmingham (and CLIMB Fellow), says, “Genome sequencing can generate rapid insights into the scale and patterns-of-spread of important epidemics. When Zika struck the Americas, we were able to respond rapidly by deploying portable sequencing to affected areas, generating sequence data in days. Comparative genome sequence analysis requires significant computation and storage requirements.

The new system provides rapid, on-demand computation to speed up the analysis. We can instantly access hundreds of CPUs, thousands of gigabytes of RAM and tens of terabytes of storage. This means we can keep pace with the rapid data generation, and quickly release important new findings to the scientific and public health community in order to assist epidemic response efforts.”

The use of mobile field labs and cloud computing resources followed on from previous work with Ebola. As part of the CLIMB offering, researchers are able to access toolsets developed by other institutions including GVL (Melbourne University) and EDGE bioinformatics (Los Alamos).

With over 7,500 vCPU cores of processing power, the CLIMB system represents the largest single system designed specifically for microbiologists in the world. The CLIMB infrastructure runs OpenStack and is physically located across four University sites and is made up of Lenovo SystemX servers with either 512GB or 3TB of RAM and up to 192 cores, enabling researchers to request huge amounts of computing resource on the fly.

Storage is provided by IBM StorWise with IBM Spectrum Scale and Red Hat Ceph running on Dell servers. The pilot service for CLIMB was developed at the University of Birmingham with the architecture subsequently replicated at the other sites.

The CLIMB system was designed, and is led on a technical side by Tom Connor (Cardiff), Simon Thompson and Nick Loman (Birmingham). The system itself sits within a wider project, led by Mark Pallen (Quadram) and Sam Sheppard (Bath) that includes the provision of refurbished bioinformatics space, training courses and three research fellowships.

We look forward to continuing our support with the CLIMB project in the future. More details on the CLIMB project can be found at http://www.climb.ac.uk/.

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OCF helps to develop AI infrastructure at the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford has become the first academic institution in the UK to take delivery of an NVIDIA DGX-1 supercomputer powered by the latest GPU technology – NVIDIA Volta.

Picking up a Petaflop: (L-R) Dr. David Jenkins, Head of Research Computing and Support Services University of Oxford, Dr. Steven Young, ARC Technical Services Manager and Dr. Robert Esnouf, Director of Research Computing BDI & Head of Research Computing Core WHG

The new system has been supplied by OCF and funded via a collaboration between the University’s IT Services department, Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WHG), Big Data Institute (BDI) and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM).

The system will be housed and managed by the University’s Advanced Research Computing (ARC) facility and is a response to the explosion in demand from researchers for exploring all avenues for applying deep learning to research. For the life sciences, current research includes more accurate sequencing, predicting gene expression levels, simulating brain activity, predicting outbreaks of diseases such as malaria and analysing population-scale data such as those from the UK Biobank study. In other disciplines it includes research into autonomous vehicles, natural language processing and computer vision.

“Oxford University is at the forefront of AI research in Europe, so it’s fitting this should be the first academic institution in the UK to receive a DGX-1 powered by our Volta architecture,” comments Stuart Wilson, Supercomputing & AI Director UK for NVIDIA. “The DGX-1 installation forms the centrepiece of the University’s shared AI infrastructure. It will be extremely exciting to see how students, researchers and developers at the University use this AI supercomputer to further their ground-breaking work.”

“OCF thrives on working with our customers to provide the latest technologies to enhance research,” comments Julian Fielden, OCF Managing Director. “We’re delighted to be bringing together researchers from across all divisions of the University of Oxford to enable them to carry out such exciting projects.”

OCF has been a business partner with NVIDIA for over a decade and recently achieved Elite Partner level status with NVIDIA for Accelerated Computing, becoming only the second business partner in northern Europe to achieve this level.

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