The discipline of High Performance and Distributed Computing (HPDC) historically attempts to solve computational problems that cannot be solved with the processing power and memory of a single computing system. The parallel and distributed processing capacity offered by multiprocessors, clusters and grids over the past decades has been instrumental in tackling computational challenges in science and engineering. Since the first supercomputer developed in the 1960s, the HPDC discipline has laid the foundations for making computing systems faster and a catalyst for accelerating scientific discovery.
In the 21st century, the foundations and methods of HPDC are more timely and relevant than ever. Most computers in our homes and our planet are now sophisticated parallel processing engines. Our desktops, our laptops, the embedded computers that power mobile phones, tablets, cars, airplanes and many other artifacts that we use in our everyday lives, as well the servers that process the Exabytes of data that humanity generates in datacentres, have many processor cores, specialised computational accelerators and deep memory hierarchies. While parallel computing penetrates each and every computing device, distributed computing interconnects billions of computing devices into a global computing ecosystem. Emerging applications and services split their computation and data processing tasks between mobile devices and datacentres that form computational clouds. Networks of distributed sensors assume critical missions such as securing our power grids or monitoring physiological indicators in our bodies. These sensors collect massive amounts of data which are processed in servers, to give meaningful answers back to millions of users. Once a niche area, HPDC is now ubiquitous and spans the entire computing ecosystem.
The mission of the HPDC Research Cluster, part of the School of EEECS at Queen's University of Belfast, is to develop the theoretical foundations, algorithms, hardware and software that will make future computing systems faster, more resilient, energy efficient and thus friendlier to the environment, sustainable, and less expensive to operate. The Cluster is committed to making contributions of a foundational nature, with impact that extends far and beyond the HPDC discipline and Computing Sciences. The research practice in the cluster balances harmoniously theory, experimentation and deployment: we develop solutions that we test in the field, on real parallel and distributed systems, some of them with hardware components built in the lab by ourselves. We develop algorithms, programming languages and concurrent execution environments that scale from a few up to millions of processing elements. We build methods to improve the reliability and energy-efficiency of small- and large-scale distributed systems. A key advantage of our methods is that they jointly consider application for the co-design of hardware and system software. Our methods and systems are thus applicable to a variety of domains. We support commercially relevant applications of high societal and economic value. In par with groundbreaking fundamental and applied research, we are committed to training and mentoring students, early-career and advanced researchers in the principles and practice of parallel and distributed computing. We provide unique skill sets that are highly marketable in both industry and academia.
The Cluster has a remarkable and diverse research funding portfolio with a total value that exceeds £14 million over the last three years. The funded research activities span the areas of many-core programming languages and systems, programming models for Exascsale systems, energy accounting and optimisation, micro-servers, datacentre monitoring and optimisation, middleware for large-scale data processing and stream data processing. We further explore foundational aspects of networked distributed systems. Our projects involve 26 academic partners, 16 industrial partners, and 4 supercomputing centres, from 14 countries. Our team includes members with accolades such as Marie Curie Fellowship, Newton Fellowship, NSF & DOE Career Award, EPSRC First Grant, IBM Faculty Award, and numerous Best Paper Awards.
We invite you to explore our web pages and welcome contacts from academic or industrial partners for exploring collaborations.