IBM and University collaboration secures Pembrokeshire investment
Following a unique 'Research Collaboration Agreement' signed yesterday (Thursday, March 27) between IBM and Swansea University, Technium Pembrokeshire will become home to the latest IBM investment in south west Wales.
The new Technium facility in Pembrokeshire (pictured), an Objective One project, has been selected to host an innovative Centre of Excellence in Environmental Research and Modelling.
Following hot on the heels of the establishment of IBM's Blue C supercomputer at the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University, this new Centre significantly extends IBM’s research and development collaborations in south west Wales.
The Centre will support research into environmental sciences and renewable energy, utilising high performance computing and a top-end IBM visualisation environment.
Councillor John Allen Mirehouse, Deputy Leader and Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic Development, is particularly pleased at the development.
He said: "We are delighted to welcome IBM to Pembrokeshire, as a consequence of our close partnership with Swansea University. Creating quality green jobs is a high priority for all of us in Wales and this has the potential to provide truly valuable employment for truly valuable research."
Caroline Isaac of the IBM Systems and Technology Group has been a key figure in building the IBM and Swansea University relationship.
"Together, over the past four years, IBM and Swansea University have built a highly successful team approach based on mutual trust and common Research goals," she said.
"This latest development in Technium Pembrokeshire has been brokered by the University's Institute of Innovation and is further evidence of IBM’s commitment to its 'Big Green agenda', and to economic development in South West Wales."
So what will the new Centre actually mean for the region and for Wales?
Explaining the significance of the development, Tavi Murray (pictured in the Arctic), Professor of Glaciology at Swansea University's School of the Environment and Society said: "One important application is ice shelf stability. We have seen a number of ice shelves break up dramatically due to climate warming, which causes sea level rise because the glaciers that feed them then speed up.
"At present, our current models cannot reproduce these behaviours. To tackle this problem requires complex high-resolution modelling of ice shelf flow and fracture mechanics; both will benefit enormously from the processing capacity and speed of the new supercomputer and state-of-the-art visualisation technology."
Speaking from the Arctic, where she is currently on a field mission investigating the impact of climate on glaciers, Professor Murray added: "The provision of this facility is also expected to have an immediate impact on the number of researchers able to perform truly world-class research, and will no doubt attract further international research leaders to join us in south west Wales."
The new Centre is expected to be up and running by the end of May and an Open Event is planned for later this year to showcase the new facilities.