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Thursday 14 January 2021

OCF provides HPC facility to Plymouth Marine Laboratory

OCF logoHigh performance compute (HPC), storage, cloud, and AI integrator, OCF, has designed, integrated, and is now maintaining, a new HPC system for Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), the marine research organisation and registered charity. The HPC facility is part of the Natural Environment Research Council Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (NEODAAS) and is being heralded as “the first centralised HPC service available to UK environmental researchers specifically for applying artificial intelligence and deep learning to Earth observation data.”

The HPC facility, named the Massive GPU Cluster for Earth Observation (MAGEO), is supporting scientists seeking to apply deep learning tools to their own data, or to deep learning experts looking to apply their techniques to Earth observation data. The use cases are diverse: wildfire, oil spill and plastics detection, mangrove mapping, and satellite and airborne data fusion. One interesting application has been its contribution to the COVID-19 sequencing effort, having donated computing power to distributed computing project, Folding@Home. A recent project to develop a new method for the estimation of chlorophyll concentrations in the upper ocean resulted in training the method in 10 days on a MAGEO, versus the 16 months it would have taken on a single GPU machine.

OCF has a low profile despite being established 20 years ago. The Sheffield-headquartered firm reported revenue of £17.5m in its last financial year to 31st March 2020, representing growth of 6%.  The company’s heritage is in higher education research. However, as HPC requirements transpire in other industries such as life sciences and engineering, OCF is benefiting. MD, Russell Slack, highlights the breadth of the company’s partners and technical capabilities as a strong differentiator. Its technology solutions are supported by design, support, consultancy and managed services.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: contract   space   research   HPC  

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