Engineering and the Environment

Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing

The Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing was created in November 2005 at the University of Southampton.  This Institute is the only one of its kind in the UK (the only other European Institute is in Stuttgart) and one of a total of nine institutes worldwide.  Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, announced the creation of the institute during his conference keynote speech at Supercomputing 2005 in Seattle.

Led by Professor Simon Cox and Dr Kenji Takeda (before he left to join Microsoft). the Institute pushes state-of-the-art technologies to tackle real-world scientific and engineering problems.  World-class researchers in the School of Engineering Sciences work closely with industrial partners that span the aerospace, automotive, bioengineering, marine and telecommunications sectors.

Professor Cox explains, "Our aim is to demonstrate why, where and how we are exploiting current and future Microsoft tools and technologies to make the engineering design process faster, cheaper and better."


Bill Gates, Seattle, 2005

Bill Gates, Seattle, 2005

The application of numerical optimisation in engineering design using sophisticated modelling and analysis tools can provide a vital competitive edge to companies.  Engineering design is an iterative, multidisciplinary process that is often data intensive and computationally expensive due to the application of high fidelity analysis models for the simulations of physical phenomena.  In the past few decades, engineering design has become increasingly dependent on computing and IT to underpin the process of design from initial modelling and analysis through optimisation to fabrication and testing of prototypes. 

So far the Institute has conducted research into:

  • using Microsoft Cluster Compute Edition to provide 'high performance' capability computing
  • Microsoft tooling to build Open Standards based Web Services for access to distributed capacity computing resources and to integrate heterogeneous resources
  • Windows Communication Framework to provide a secure, reliable and transacted messaging framework
  • WinFS and SQL server to data handling and integration
  • Tablet PC technology for users to interact with all aspects of the design process - staff from the Institute demonstrated their service-orientated tablet pc-based photonic crystal design system on the Microsoft stand at Supercomputing 2005
  • how to make wireless classrooms, collaboration and distance learning a compelling, rich experience utilising tools such as high-bandwidth networks, wireless devices, tablet PCs etc - this was part of ConferenceXP
  • Future Flight
  • YourGrid - looking at hoe and why we exploit a range of novel grid technologies in end-to-end high-fidelity engineering design processes
  • Mesophotonics Instrument Software
  • Computational Electromagnetics
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics/Wind Tunnel
  • Genie
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