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UCL Research IT helps to win big-data research grant

By James P J Hetherington, on 1 December 2014

Compressive sensing is a recent breakthrough in information theory that has the potential to revolutionise the acquisition and analysis of data in many fields.  UCL Research IT Services (RITS) are an integral part of a team that recently secured grants from the UK research councils to develop compressive sensing techniques to address the challenge of extracting meaningful information from big-data.

The techniques developed will find application in a broad range of academic fields and industries, from astronomy to medicine.  They will allow high-fidelity astronomical images to be recovered from the overwhelming volumes of raw data that will be acquired by next-generation radio telescopes like the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).  The new techniques will also be of direct use in neuro-imaging to accelerate the acquisition time of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), potentially rendering its clinical use possible.

Dr Hetherington of RITS’s Research Software Development Team said: “Software which embodies these research results will be readable, well-engineered and efficient to run on the world’s fastest computers, and will be an important output of this research, alongside research publications.” Funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Software For the Future Programme which emphasises the importance of sustainable research software, will be used to fund members of the RITS team working to this aim.

Dr McEwen of UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) and leader of the project said: “UCL’s Research Software Development Team, led by Dr Hetherington, were an invaluable partner in securing funding for this project and will be instrumental in its success. Their unique expertise in combining both scientific computing and professional software development will ensure that the software produced will be able to fully exploit high-performance computing architectures, while also being readily usable by the community.”

For more details see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/mathematical-physical-sciences/maps-news-publication/maps1431

Square Kilometre Array

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