Prof JC Desplat, Irish Centre for High End Computing

New appointments at Irish Centre for High-End Computing

High-performance computing centre now employs 42 between Dublin and Galway
Prof JC Desplat, Irish Centre for High End Computing

26 November 2020

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), the national high-performance computing centre which manages the State supercomputer, has announced four new appointments to its academic staff.

Dr Finnuala Solomon has joined the National HPC Service to deliver courses in Python and HPC; Dr Antonio Villapando and Dr James Nelson will be working on projects in quantum computing; and Dr Manuel Fernández, who has joined the Environmental Sciences Activity under the ESA funded project, AI-Ready Earth Observation Training Datasets (AIREO).

Prof JC Desplat, Director, ICHEC, said: “Demand for HPC services is being driven by research and business leaders’ awareness of the need to upskill to prepare for coming technologies such as Quantum Computing as well as the opportunities in Europe for researchers to advance to using Exascale computing. The sophistication of modelling techniques is also increasing year-on-year requiring more code optimisation skills.




“Careful management of the national high-performance computer resource, ensuring appropriate code optimisation, is needed to meet this demand. During Covid-19 we have also seen strong growth in demand for training and education services, which we have continued to deliver online, as well as academic support for high-end computing. We will soon launch a dedicated programme of support and training for the SME sector in HPC through EuroCC.

“As the national provider of high-performance computing, we are best placed to respond to the challenges ahead and as the centre of excellence for European high-performance computing in Ireland we are at the cutting edge of research in Quantum Computing, AI and the disruptive technologies which we are all facing.”

The appointments follow a number of significant appointments earlier in 2020. Dr Enda O’Brien, a Senior Computational Scientist, rejoined his former colleagues in Environmental Sciences. Dr Elise Jennings, a senior computational scientist is working on supporting Irish scientists and researchers as part of the European High-Performance Computing (EuroHPC) Competence Centre.

Other recent arrivals include Dr John Brennan a computational scientist working on the PRACE project, QuantEx, which develops scalable quantum circuit simulation tools for exascale HPC platforms, and Dr Orna Fennelly, who is working on a Health Research Board examining the safe and controlled access, storage, sharing and synchronisation across data sets in healthcare.

Prof Desplat added: “Many of our new staff have joined during the pandemic and I would like to congratulate them on fulfilling their new roles in difficult circumstances without the usual office based collegial support.

“The addition of these new staff will enable us to continue to support business and academics across the Irish landscape and exploit developing technologies for scientific breakthrough and operational advancement. We look forward to working together in an office environment again, hopefully in the not too distant future.”

ICHEC services include the application of HPC to Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence, environmental sciences, Earth observation and climate science, and novel technologies such as quantum and edge computing.

ICHEC also recently launched the EuroHPC National Competence Centre (EuroCC) for Ireland part of a €1 bilion European flagship programme to advance a federated European supercomputing infrastructure and is currently supporting seven research projects as part of its academic flagship programme.

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