Cloud computing hub to launch at Imperial with £2m EPSRC funding


3D rendering of a glowing polygonal cloud on blue background.

A new hub dedicated to the cloud computing of tomorrow is to be launched at Imperial with £2m funding from EPSRC.

The funding comes as part of a £6m investment by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – part of UK Research and Innovation – into the technologies of tomorrow. 

The initiative, known as Communications Hub for Empowering Distributed Cloud Computing Applications and Research (CHEDDAR), will bring researchers together to drive innovations in cloud computing systems, linking Imperial experts with the wider academic, business and international communities.  

CHEDDAR will...facilitate the connection of UK excellence, early career researchers, and brave new ideas in this field. Professor Julie McCann Vice-Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Engineering

The team behind CHEDDAR, led by Imperial College London’s Professor Julie McCann, believes it is imperative that new communications systems are built to be safe, secure, trustworthy, and sustainable, from the tiniest device to large cloud farms. Partners include the Universities of Cranfield, York, Leeds, Durham and Glasgow

Professor McCann, Vice-Dean (Research) for Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering, said: “During the recent pandemic we came to appreciate the great work of the medical sciences, while our communications technologies were quietly supporting our work and providing social lifelines.  

“Looking forward, we have new ways of working using AI as well as neuromorphic computing, where we model computer systems after the brain, and quantum computing. These different technologies have varying demands on communication networks, and indeed networking is changing with the various technologies that make up new initiatives such as 6G.  

“CHEDDAR will bring all this together to drive research and networking across the UK academic community to facilitate the connection of UK excellence, early career researchers, and brave new ideas in this field.” 

The goals of CHEDDAR are to: 

  • Develop innovative collaboration methods to engage pockets of excellence around the UK and build a cohesive research ecosystem that nurtures early career researchers and new ideas.   
  • Inform the design of new communication surfaces that cater to emerging computing capabilities (such as neuromorphic, quantum, molecular), key infrastructures (such as energy grids and transport), and emerging end-user applications (such as autonomy) to answer problems that we cannot solve today.  
  • Create integrated design of hierarchical connected human-machine systems that promote secure learning and knowledge distribution, resilience, sustainable operations, trust between human and machine reasoning, and accessibility in terms of diversity and inclusion.  
  • Co-develop regional case studies that reflect the diverse challenges faced by different industries and societies across the UK. 

Jane Nicholson, EPSRC’s Director for Research Base, said: “Digital communications infrastructure underpins the UK’s economy of today and tomorrow and these projects will help support the jobs and industry of the future. Everybody relies on secure and swift networking and EPSRC is committed to backing the research which will advance these technologies.” 

This story was adapted from a press release by EPSRC.

Image: Shutterstock



Caroline Brogan

Caroline Brogan
Communications Division

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