Computing Insight UK 2016 brings HPC industry leaders to Manchester
22 Dec 2016



Last week we brought together industry leaders and researchers to discuss the latest developments in high performance computing (HPC), big data analytics and cognitive technologies at Computing Insight UK 2016 in Manchester.


​​Computing Insight UK 2016 took place recently in Manchester city centre.


Last week, we were thrilled to bring together industry leaders and researchers to discuss the latest developments in high performance computing (HPC), big data analytics and cognitive technologies at Computing Insight UK 2016.

The conference, run jointly by the Hartree Centre and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Scientific Computing Department, took place in a new venue at Manchester Central and attracted 39 exhibitors and over 170 delegates from over 84 organisations spanning trade vendors, industry and academic organisations. 

​A lively programme of speakers, an exhibitor forum and several breakout sessions were rounded off with a keynote speech from Tom Scott (link opens in a new window), a science communicator, presenter and popular YouTuber.


Keynote speaker Tom Scott shares one of his YouTube videos to illustrate his own attempts to achieve "awesome over effort".

Tom gave delegates a crash course in the ironically titled “How to be popular on the internet”, a fascinating look at finding out what works when communicating science – and what doesn’t. His advice included posting on-line content regularly, consistently in quality, and throwing as many ideas out there to “see what sticks” because sometimes audiences can be unpredictable, and you never know what they might like! Tom also discussed the importance of collaboration and finding people passionate about the same causes to broaden reach and ensure messages meet their target audiences and beyond.

CIUK 2016

Ian Hennessey, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, discusses working with the STFC Hartree Centre on the cognitive hospital project.

A range of Hartree Centre projects were represented throughout the conference programme. We were delighted to welcome Ian Hennessy to talk about working with the Hartree Centre on Alder Hey’s cognitive hospital project and the natural language interface we are building to engage patients at the beginning of their hospital journey. Our own Andrew Gargett also delved into cognitive technologies, following up with his talk around chatbots and their attributes as both pragmatic and responsive micro-architectures, suitable for doing limited tasks to a high standard.

Continuing on the theme of technology in healthcare, Richard Storey from AstraZeneca introduced conference delegates to the ADDoPT project. He spoke about the shift from a ‘make and test’ approach to ‘design, test and refine’ in pharmaceutical drug design and the importance of collaboration and pre-competitive sharing across organisations to get value from industry data.

CIUK 2016

Durham University's Lydia Heck explains how they are repurposing the Hartree Centre's old systems for leading-edge physics research.

Lydia Heck highlighted how Durham University are re-using the Hartree Centre’s old HPC systems to provide new services in cutting-edge physics. Delegates were given a practical insight in to partnership working in installation and repurposing supercomputers, alongside a snapshot of some of the impressive projects they have been working on already.

We also presented our work with the Met Office on atmospheric modelling. Andrew Porter talked about the LFRic project and the ‘separation of concerns’ so that meteorological queries from the natural scientists were separate from issues surrounding performance that were suitable for computational scientists.

CIUK 2016

Delegates take some time to network in the exhibition hall.

The Hartree Centre closed the conference with an announcement of a new 4-year collaboration with Bull Atos, who will supply the Hartree Centre with a 3.4PFLOP Bull S​equana X1000 supercomputer and also work with the Hartree Centre to support SMEs. We look forward to sharing more news on the collaboration in the new year.​

The team at STFC would like to extend our thanks to all delegates and exhibitors who made for a fantastic few days and a special thanks goes to our Computing Insight UK 2016 sponsors: Boston Limited, IBM, Intel, Transtec and OCF. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Find out what the hot topics were this year in our CIUK 2016 highlights video:


You can also view the event photo gallery on Flickr (link opens in a new window).