June 16, 2014

HPC Wales Now Able to Provide Businesses with Advanced Analytics Tool

June 16 — The UK’s largest distributed supercomputing network has launched a new advanced analytics solution to help businesses capitalise on the growth of Big Data.

With the installation of Apache Hadoop, a framework for storage and large scale processing of data sets on clusters, High Performance Computing (HPC) Wales is now able to provide businesses of all sizes with a powerful analytics tool to help them interpret large and complex datasets, rapidly turning large volumes of structured and unstructured data into meaningful information.

It was estimated by the International Data Corporation (IDC) that 2.7 billion terabytes of data were created worldwide in 2012, a figure that is growing rapidly year on year.

With Big Data ranging across sectors from a few dozen terabytes to multiple petabytes – which are thousands of terabytes – and beyond, businesses and academics can now take advantage of this wealth of data with HPC Wales’ powerful analytics tool.

The Big Data solution can be used for anything from predictive analytics, social media analytics and text analytics to disease detection, prevention and treatment; financial modeling and smart energy metering.

With 17,000 computer cores and a peak processing performance of almost 320 TFlops, HPC Wales’ supercomputing network is capable of running 320 trillion operations per second. This processing power combined with access to sophisticated software packages, like Hadoop and R analytics, mean businesses in Wales can now harness the potential of supercomputing for the analysis of Big Data.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, HPC Wales is committed to boosting the Welsh economy by providing businesses and academic researchers with some of the most advanced computing technology in the world often at fully discounted prices.

Professor Sian Hope, Interim CEO of HPC Wales, said, “In just one minute of online activity, there are two million Google searches, 685,000 Facebook updates and over 200 million sent emails.”

“Companies such as Amazon and Tesco have been harnessing Big Data for commercial gain for some time now. These firms gather tonnes of data on customers, from what they’ve purchased to what websites they visit, where they live, when they’ve contacted customer services, and if they interact with their brands on social media.”

“With the launch of our new Big Data solution, businesses now have access to state-of-the-art technology to help them interpret this sort of data, providing valuable insights, helping them to boost their competitiveness in global markets.”

A company in Wales already benefiting from HPC Wales’ Big Data solution is Caerphilly-based Butterfly Projects, which has previously provided Big Data and predictive analytics services to the likes of Lloyds Banking Group and Zurich Insurance.

Sara Boltman, Founding Director at Butterfly Projects, said, “We are using Hadoop on HPC Wales for big data analysis and R for predictive analytics. Before accessing HPC Wales, we were restricted to processing up to 120 million records and our statistical model building machines would have to run for at least 12 hours overnight to complete this processing. Working with big data on HPC Wales now means that we can process terabyte scale data and gain a massive time saving against what could be achieved locally!”

“With access to the HPC Wales system, we no longer need to limit ourselves by size of data and can increase the complexity and volume of our workload, competing for larger and more competitive contracts.”

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