The European Centre of Excellence for Engineering Applications
What is EXCELLERAT?
The EXCELLERAT project is a single point of access for expertise on how
high-performance computing (HPC) can benefit engineering. The project offers service solutions for industry and research, providing the knowledge, computational power, and infrastructure necessary to tackle the ever-rising complexity of scientific and development endeavours. A particular focus of EXCELLERAT is on engineering solutions for aeronautics and the automotive sector.
What is the goal?
EXCELLERAT brings together key players from industry, research and HPC to provide services that will enable the European engineering industry to advance towards Exascale technologies. Exascale computing will have the power to address highly complex and costly engineering problems, creating insight into the potential of technological solutions while they are still at the development stage
What benefits can I expect for my company and my product?
HPC can enhance the design process of your product, for example by simulating your products’ characteristics and behaviour, thus avoiding time-consuming feedback loops and improvement phases. The answers to design and manufacturing questions are often well hidden in a company’s complex data. High-performance data analytics can guide you through the data points and provide you with the answers you need to improve your product or production cycle, leading to shortened production times and quicker readiness for market. Advanced modelling and data analytics can effectively cut the cost of your business workflow.
But how can I make use of HPC technologies without being an HPC expert myself?
EXCELLERAT’s Service Portal offers a range of services such as training and individual consultations that will help you incorporate HPC into your research or product development. You will be provided with the exact type of support you will most benefit from, based on your own current needs.
What has HPC done for its industrial users so far?
With the help of HPC, an airplane manufacturer managed to save $2 million on inventory and shortened production flow times by 25%, inventory levels assembly by 30% and overtime expenses by 40%. HPC has also made it possible to decrease development time for new vehicle platforms from 60 months to 24. Furthermore, HPC helps autonomous vehicles to predict driving functions and increase passenger safety by avoiding road hazards. Similarly, faults can be predicted in advance through intelligent analysis of real-time data produced by airplanes. A concrete example from aviation is the Airbus A380, which was designed with the help of HPC simulation. It carries twice as many passengers at the same noise level, uses less than 3 liters of fuel per person per 100 km and produces less than 75g of CO2 per person per km – an achievement enabled with HPC. You can find EXCELLERAT’s success stories.
EXCELLERAT offers cross-cutting support for various engineering sectors, like manufacturing, automotive, energy, aerospace, chemistry, biology and climate, enabling generic application support is a non-trivial task. Within the engineering sector we see specialisation on expertise, applications development, targeted training and offered hardware.
However, all the centres specialise in a single domain within the engineering sector to offer a maximum of expertise in consultancy and training to their direct customers. Within EXCELLERAT the centres will make the best out of sharing their expertise and experiences forming a European Centre of Excellence.
The setup of EXCELLERAT is complementarity to the current setup of each HPC provider/centre. EXCELLERAT will enable enhanced engineering applications and support the community in a way which could not be provided by one single provider.
In more detail, EXCELLERAT is built on four capabilities: Leading edge technology expertise, Business expertise, Established Mechanisms, Application Lifecycle expertise. These four pillars, forming the EXCELLERAT baseline are illustrated in Figure 1.
Leading edge technology expertise covers both, expertise in technologies (software and especially hardware) and how to apply them and in addition, how to get access to knowledge if necessary to fulfil certain tasks in HPC. The knowledge on technological changes such as changing architectures, and the ability to get access to them and help to evaluate or improve them further is a key aspect of the centre. Finally ownership of and/or access to (heterogeneous)leading edge technologyis a baseline for a successful Centre of Excellence.
Businessexpertise is a principle activity when moving EXCELLERAT towards a sustainable foundation. Successful business underpinning sustainability will base on the need for developing and providing services on state-of-the-art techniques, that is how the best possible performance for the participants and customers can be fulfilled.
Established Mechanisms refers to the ecosystem already available on the participant’s side. This includes established communication channels and mechanisms from experts to customers; support capabilities and organised training for all user communities. These mechanisms may refer to already available practical consultancy for industries, performed by the centre directly or through collaborations with third party companies indirectly.
Application lifecycle expertise and experience is an often forgotten, but mandatory pillar. Experience is of utmost importance to estimate implications of activities, operation models and how to offer designed services efficiently. In particular, experience with applications is key to deliver quality output, especially if timing and precision are mandatory parameters for successful operations.
EXCELLERAT is built from the established activities and synergies of leading High Performance Computing centres in Europe who provide pioneering technology solutions and support to the European engineering community, including both academia and industry.
Figure: Areas of expertise forming the EXCELLERAT baseline
The baseline of EXCELLERAT is formed upon six areas of expertise in which the founding centres have long-term experience.
Scientific excellence is achieved through the active academic research activities and scientific exchanges dedicated to the role of HPC in the engineering industries and the benefit of this combination for the economy and society. EXCELLERAT focuses on the production, evolution, and transfer of knowledge, which flows out of basic science, patents, and algorithms, and winds up as process and product innovation. It pursues cutting edge research, data gathering, and top-level academic publications on the dynamic role of HPC in diverse areas of engineering science ranging from manufacturing and automotive to energy and aerospace. The Centre is directly involved with the faculties of Energy-, Process- and Bio-Engineering at the University of Stuttgart, College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh and the School of Computer Science and Communication at Stockholm University, as well as, top HPC researchers and engineers in Europe and abroad.
Ourexpertise in leading-edge technology encompasses deep knowledge and understanding of HPC hardware and software, as well as know-how in applying HPC technologies to achieve best results for users. A key aspect of EXCELLERAT is to provide its users with up-to-date information on technological changes in HPC architectures and access policies. Finally, EXCELLERAT aims to enable its users to evaluate and improve current HPC technologies and shape them to better serve their Needs.
A business focused approach to our activities means experience in working with industry – both small and large engineering companies. EXCELLERAT leverages the long-lasting relationships of its HPC centres with market leaders, smaller service providers and ISVs to enhance its offerings and networking activities.
Established mechanisms refers not only to our experience in providing access to HPC systems but also in delivering consultancy and contract research in a professional manner. The established communication channels within industry, academia and policy makers are used to the advantage of EXCELLERAT users. At the same time, our established training programmes and connections to Universities enable EXCELLERAT to prepare studying and working engineers for the current and future HPC engineering challenges.
The application lifecycle expertise and experience is an often forgotten, but mandatory pillar. Experience is of utmost importance to estimate implications of activities, operation models and how to offer designed services efficiently. In particular, experience with applications is key to deliver quality output, especially when timing and precision are critical to successful operations.
Technology transfer processes and activities include identification, protection and exploitation of inventions and innovative ideas arising from EXCELLERAT. The Technology Transfer Initiative at the University of Stuttgart, the Edinburgh Research and Innovation technology transfer office at the University of Edinburgh, and the KTH Innovation office at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, support EXCELLERAT in its commitment to commercialise ideas and inventions. In most cases, commercialisation is made possible through cooperation with an exploitation partner for further development of a new technology and/or its integration into a new product, procedure, service, process or tool.
A Centre of Excellence can only be sustainable when the needs of its users are addressed in an adequate way. For EXCELLERAT this user base, comprises its community which many times has a dual role of knowledge carrier and solution provider at the same time. Members of this community are researchers, engineers, computer scientists and technologists, coming from both industry and academia, who all share the same passion for development of innovative, powerful HPC solutions for engineering. In particular, EXCELLERAT addresses the needs of the following audiences:
Enterprises operating in Europe who specialise in HPC engineering applications – ranging from SMEs to large industries.
Academic engineers and physical science researchers.
Engineering enterprises operating in Europe who do not yet have a perceived need to use HPC, but could gain commercial advantage from using the centre.
Academic HPC centres in Europe with expertise in working in both collaborative research with commercial partners and as suppliers of HPC resources.
All High Performance Computing centres involved in EXCELLERAT offer their key expertise in the area of engineering and have served clients in industry and academia for decades. Each centre specialises in specific domains within the engineering sector thereby combined in a European Centre of Excellence they maximise their expertise in consultancy and training to benefit the European engineering ecosystem. Below you will find more details about each centre.