UCL News


UCL to host National High Performance Computing Hub for Materials Science

7 November 2016

A UCL-led consortium has been awarded £4m to establish a new national High Performance Computing (HPC) facility for the Materials and Molecular Modelling community.

High Performance Computing UCL

Bringing together eight universities, including all six members of the Science and Engineering South (SES) group, the project will be led by Professor Angelos Michaelides (UCL Physics & Astronomy), with ISD Research IT Services as service hosting and delivery partners.

Professor Michaelides commented: "The new national Hub for Materials and Molecular Modelling is very exciting as it brings together the London universities in the Thomas Young Centre (Imperial, Kings, UCL and Queen Mary) plus a number of key partners across the country (Belfast, Cambridge, Kent, Oxford and Southampton). It will provide a valuable resource for the UK's thriving materials modelling community and may aid in the development of next generation materials, for example for use in catalysis and sensor applications."

Professor Richard Catlow (UCL Chemistry) leads the UK's Materials Chemistry High End Computing Consortium, whose members will also be provided with access to the new facility. He said: "This is an excellent and timely investment in a state-of-the-art HPC facility which will allow the UCL and broader UK materials modelling communities to maintain their internationally leading position in this rapidly expanding field."

The award is part of an EPSRC programme to build national HPC capability and promote greater integration across the UK's 'eInfrastructure'. Following a competitive call, six new 'Tier 2' Centres have been funded that will bridge the gap between institutional facilities and the national supercomputing service ARCHER. The UCL award is one of three made to members of the SES grouping.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), commented: "It is fitting that UCL has won the confidence of the national materials science community in bringing forward this successful proposal, and being awarded funding by EPSRC. The pre-existing collaboration between the SES partners enabled the group to rapidly develop three excellent complementary proposals, and win a significant proportion of available funding."

The new facility will be implemented by scaling out UCL's flagship HPC facility 'Grace', operated by ISD Research IT Services. 

Clare Gryce, Director of Research IT Services, said: "I am delighted that our Research Computing team have won the opportunity to host this national facility, extending our existing service to support the UK's world-leading materials science community. We're also looking forward to working closely with EPSRC and the other Tier 2 centres to promote the integration of these and other systems, to improve usability by researchers and optimised use of resources."


  • Office of the Vice-Provost (Research)



  • Research Computing Services at UCL (Credit: Tony Slade, UCL Media Services)