External IT resources for researchers

Compute resources


(http://www.archer.ac.uk/) is the latest UK National Supercomputing Service. The ARCHER Service started in November 2013 and is expected to run for 5 years.‌

ARCHER provides a capability resource to allow researchers to run simulations and calculations that require large numbers of processing cores working in a tightly-coupled, parallel fashion.


(http://www.archie-west.ac.uk/ ) is a regional supercomputer centre at the University of Strathclyde - dedicated to research excellence and wealth creation in the West of Scotland.

  • Funded by EPSRC, we operate in partnership with the Universities of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, West of Scotland and Stirling.
  • The centre was established in March 2012 by a £1.6M award from the EPSRC e-Infrastructure fund to establish a regional centre of excellence in High Performance Computing. The aim of the centre is to provide High Performance Computing capability for Academia, Industry and Enterprise in the West of Scotland.
  • Access costs are detailed at https://www.archie-west.ac.uk/information/archie-fees/ . As a partner institution, researchers at the University of Glasgow get preferential rates.


(http://www.dirac.ac.uk/) in December 2009 the new STFC Facility, DiRAC was established to provide distributed High Performance Computing (HPC) services.‌

  • HPC-based modelling is an essential tool for the exploitation of observational and experimental facilities in astronomy and particle physics, as this technology allows scientists to test their theories and run simulations from the data gathered in experiments.
  • The UK has an extremely strong HPC community and these powerful computing facilities allows the UK science community to pursue cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics, from simulating the entire evolution of the universe, from the big bang to the present, to modelling the fundamental structure of matter. DiRAC is both an academic-led and academic supervised Facility, which allowed the systems to be designed specifically around the different high performance computational needs within this scientific community.

See http://www.dirac.ac.uk/access.html for details of how to make applications for access .

Data storage resources


(http://www.rdf.ac.uk/) the UK Research Data Facility (UK-RDF), funded by EPSRC and NERC, is collocated with ARCHER and is housed at the ACF facility.‌

The Research Councils' vision behind the RDF:

  • Provide a high capacity robust file store;
  • Persistent infrastructure - will last beyond any one national service;
  • Easily extensible in size and number of hosts - degree of future proofing and potential for increasing local post processing activities;
  • Operates independently of any one vendor's offering for compute;
  • Remotely accessible via an Edinburgh host - not restricted to through login nodes;

Will remove end of service data issues include

  • transfers at end of services have become increasingly lengthy;
  • Will also ensure that data from the current ARCHER service is secured - this will ensure a degree of soft landing if there is ever a gap in National Services;

Details of how to gain access are at http://www.rdf.ac.uk/access/

Resources for specific areas of research


 (http://www.jasmin.ac.uk/) provides the UK and European climate and earth-system science communities with an efficient data analysis environment. Many datasets, particularly model data, are too big to be easily shipped around: JASMIN enables scientists to bring their processing to the data‌

  • JASMIN provides new ways for scientists to collaborate in self-managing group workspaces, enabling models and algorithms to be evaluated alongside curated archive data, and for data to be shared and evaluated before being deposited in the permanent archive
  • JASMIN enables CEDA to carry out its mission of data curation and facilitation more efficiently. Fast, parallel, scalable storage provides a home for in-demand archive data, while a virtualised server infrastructure provides a more capable base for delivery of CEDA's data centre services to the science community.

See http://www.jasmin.ac.uk/jasmin-users/who-can-use-jasmin/ for details on who is allowed t0 use Jasmin.


(http://www.farrinstitute.org/) the Farr Institute is a UK-wide research collaboration involving 21 academic institutions and health partners in England, Scotland and Wales.‌

  • Publically funded by a consortium of ten organisations led by the Medical Research Council, the Institute is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge research using ‘big data’ to advance the health and care of patients and the public.

 For Scotland the Operational contact is at the University of Dundee. Further details and contacts can be found at http://www.farrinstitute.org/contact-us/find-us

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) ska_logo

 (https://www.skatelescope.org/) the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.

  • The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a unique instrument, with the detailed design and preparation now well under way.
  • As one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the SKA will bring together a wealth of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers to bring the project to fruition.


(https://adrn.ac.uk/) the Administrative Data Research Network gives accredited researchers access to linked, de-identified administrative data in a secure environment.

  • Economic and social research improves our knowledge and understanding of the society we live in. It provides a sound base for policy makers to decide how to tackle a range of complex social, economic, environmental and health issues. This is what we mean by ‘better knowledge, better society’.

See https://adrn.ac.uk/application-process/application-process/ for the application process.

NSS National Safe Havennhs_icon

(http://www.isdscotland.org/Products-and-Services/eDRIS/Use-of-the-National-Safe-Haven/ ) the NSS (National Services Scotland) is a secure environment in which data are linked and accessed. This environment provides a high powered computing service, secure analytic environment, secure file transfer protocol for receipt of data, and provision of a range of analytic software (SPSS, STATA, SAS and R). The IT infrastructure is supported by Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.

  • Access is provided via a secure access point, a physically secure area containing a computer with no external devices e.g. disc, CD, USB drives or printer access, or remotely via an accredited organisation’s PC / laptop.
  • This allows trusted and authorised researchers to analyse linked individual level data while maintaining the utmost confidentiality.

Details of access and links to charges are on http://www.isdscotland.org/Products-and-Services/eDRIS/Use-of-the-National-Safe-Haven/Services/eDRIS/Use-of-the-National-Safe-Haven/

GridPP grid_ppp_icon

(https://www.gridpp.ac.uk/) the GridPP Collaboration was formed to cater for the substantial computing demands of the Large Hadron Collider experiments, representing the UK in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG).

As the GridPP community has grown and evolved, however, many user communities from a wide range of disciplines have taken advantage of the computing resources offered by GridPP.


(http://www.emedlab.ac.uk/) is an exciting collaboration between Europe's leading biomedical scientists.‌

  • Our vision is to maximise the gains for patients and for medical research that will come from the explosion in human health data.
  • To realise this potential we need to accumulate medical and biological data on an unprecedented scale and complexity, to coordinate it, to store it safely and securely, and to make it readily available to interested researchers.

Useful communities

  • Research Software Engineers group - runs an annual conference (http://www.rse.ac.uk/ )
  • The HPC Special Interest Group  - aims to promote the use of High Performance Computing (HPC) in academia and industry, by members working together and promoting best practice in HPC provision, management and support. This group has biannual meetings (http://hpc-sig.org.uk/)