Research Computing

Dr Robert Esnouf, NDM Research Computing Strategy Officer

The role of the NDM Research Computing Strategy Officer is to offer help in several ways:

  1. to help foster collaboration and resource sharing across the NDM research computing community
  2. to be available for early-stage discussions with departments looking to develop new research computing facilities. Offering advice and personal experience in infrastructure development, as well as being a conduit to feed back infrastructure implications to the NDM planning team at an early stage
  3. to act as a central point for obtaining information relating to research computing developments affecting the NDM. For example, the NDM Research Computing Strategy Officer is a member of the University IT Architecture Advisory Group, the University Network Advisory Group, the executive committee of the University Advanced Research Computing (ARC) service and chair of the ARC Technical Advisory Group
  4. to help make members of the NDM aware of trends and developments in research computing of potential benefit to their current and future research
  5. to help departments review the appropriate level of IT infrastructure provision in new builds and refurbishments in line with the recently adopted University policy
  6. to help researchers and support staff get rapid and effective technical advice and help in those cases where in-house technical knowledge is exhausted
Robert-Esnouf-and-server-room

I head the Research Computing Core within the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Since the Core was created in late 2009, we have been steadily building up a world-class capability. The current facility has ~3000 compute cores and ~3PB storage backed by high-speed networks such as InfiniBand - it is already the largest compute facility within the University. The Core particularly supports the high-memory, high-data rate, high-data volume requirements of modern genomics and statistical genetics. The Centre is leading the way within Oxford in developing "Big Data" approaches to medical research. Yet, despite the growth of our Centre facility, we still need to do much, much more to become world leading. Furthermore, we simply do not have the capacity (nor the staff or space to grow) to offer it as a research computing service for the wider NDM.

Research computing is inexorably becoming a larger and larger part (and cost) of modern medical research, and there is an urgent need for the NDM to work in concerted ways to increase effective provision. Current planning toward a "Big Data Institute" with an associated "Big Data Centre" of perhaps 200 equipment racks and rated at 2 megawatts linked to a high-speed University research network (40Gbit/s or 100Gbit/s), aims to deliver on this greater vision by 2017.

Reach Robert Esnouf by email
Tel: (2) 87 783