The themes of the cross-cutting research opportunity were defined following a market engagement event jointly held by the Met Office and EPSRC in November 2020.
The community were invited to comment on cross-cutting themes proposed by the programme and submit ideas on areas of importance to be addressed for this opportunity.
The results of these submissions have defined the scope of the EPSRC and Met Office opportunities.
The cross-cutting research is a core tranche within ExCALIBUR, and funded grants are expected to:
- utilise the lessons learnt from the use cases and design and development working groups to address common issues that impact scientific code under development for use at exascale
- deliver knowledge integration with ExCALIBUR projects currently funded and those that will be funded across the duration of the programme
- establish two-way knowledge exchange with the wider research community, industry and internationally for your chosen theme on the behalf of the programme
- applicants should consider how they will integrate and optimise their findings in parallel with the scientific code development carried out by the ExCALIBUR use cases and design and development working groups.
The ExCALIBUR programme has defined cross-cutting research as: a coordinated approach addressing a known technology or infrastructure issue, which, if resolved, will lead to significant progress across a range of exascale software development challenges.
The scope of the ExCALIBUR cross-cutting research opportunities for the Met Office and EPSRC were defined to enable the research community’s decision on where their research is best suited.
Applications to this opportunity are welcomed from across UKRI’s remit and from eligible research establishments.
Cross-cutting research is either identified as a potential disruptor or a common approach or solution. A potential disruptor is not currently utilised to address challenges of software development for exascale and requires research to assess feasibility of this approach. A common approach or solution is a technology which can be implemented or modified to maximise efficiency, capability and expertise required for exascale software and architecture.
Proposals must identify which of the four themes they are submitting to as proposals will be reviewed by theme.
Future computing paradigms
Proposals within this theme must be potential disruptors to the current practices within the development and optimisation of exascale software and architecture.
Potential disruptors include, but are not limited to:
- quantum technology
- artificial intelligence
- neuromorphic computing.
These approaches may simulate future exascale systems, investigate data analysis or mixed-precision performance.
Common approaches or solutions
Applicants should submit proposals that investigate and research coupling technologies that address the complexity of concurrently running multiple applications required to produce unified results for heterogeneous systems.
Verification, validation and uncertainty quantification (VVUQ)
Proposals that will develop and implement VVUQ to be utilised across ExCALIBUR, specifically the mentioned use cases. VVUQ is essential to establishing actionable and trusted software for future systems.
Domain specific languages
The programme seeks to bring together a range of domain experts across mathematical sciences and computer sciences in the UK research landscape to address exascale software and architecture requirements.
Various existing and upcoming programming languages are utilised or under development which requires some standardisation.
Proposals to provide solutions that drive efficient practices for exascale; identify resolutions of barriers for co-design across domain-specific languages or consider interoperability between languages.
Integration with ExCALIBUR Use Cases
The output of each project should be applicable to at least two out of:
- the Met Office weather and climate prediction use case
- the UK Atomic Authority Agency fusion modelling use case
- any collection of the UKRI design and development working group use cases.
Code should be developed for one of these and a report prepared on the applicability to one or more of the others.
Knowledge exchange coordinator
Knowledge exchange (KE) is a vital component of achieving the objectives of the ExCALIBUR programme. It will ensure integration across the programme activities where researchers are developing software and algorithms in preparation for future exascale systems.
Additionally, connections are required with potential beneficiaries in academia, public sector research establishments (PSREs) and industry to contribute to these designs and the dissemination of outcomes.
Therefore, proposals must include a named co-investigator or research co-investigator who will have the role of a KE coordinator to lead these endeavours. Flexible funds can be requested to deliver activities to aid KE and will be managed by the principal investigator and KE coordinator. Expectations for this role include, but are not limited to:
- identify opportunities for KE within their project or grant, with other ExCALIBUR programme projects or grants, and with other relevant national and international projects
- identify opportunities for KE to develop and maintain a two-way flow of engagement and dissemination with industry and relevant national and international research communities
- develop a plan to increase the awareness of the proposed activity and the ExCALIBUR programme – the plan should include a rationale of the flexible funds requested to support this and timescales to accomplish this
- collaborate with other ExCALIBUR KE coordinators as a network to deliver the programme’s knowledge dissemination strategy.
Collaboration with industry and internationally is encouraged for this opportunity. Applicants should engage with the ExCALIBUR Hardware and Enabling Software Group or the EPSRC team for information on facilities which are available.
£5 million is available to fund five projects for a duration of three years at 80% fEC.
Financial profiles must be confirmed with EPSRC before grants can begin. Costs should include:
- flexible funds for KE activities (expected to be equivalent to 10% of the total funds requested)
- researcher time
- technical staff time
- support staff.
Equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) is not available through this opportunity. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘directly incurred – other costs’ heading.
See more information on equipment funding.