Hartree National Center for Digital Innovation Fuels Economic Growth: New Report Shows Advances in Adoption of Industrial AI and Quantum Computing

DARESBURY, England, June 1, 2023 – A new report, released today, confirms thisthat theThe Hartree National Center for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) is generating increasingly substantial economic and social benefits for the UK across many sectors.

Launched in 2021, the HNCDI is a five-year, $210 million (~US$263 million) collaboration between the Science and Technology Facilities Councils (STFC) Hartree Center and IBM, based at the STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury. It is enabling businesses to adopt the necessary digital technologies and skills, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing, to overcome a range of industrial challenges, from precision medicine to flood risks.

Solving industry challenges with digital adoption

The HNCDI Progress Report, completed by Technopolis, shows the progress made so far, 18 months into the program.

Describing both successes and challenges for building the HNCDI, the report illustrates successful case studies, indicating the progress achieved in each of the HNCDI workflows. Each workflow addresses four key stages of digital adoption.

  • Explore Applying digital technologies and AI to industry challenges
  • Excelerate Embedding AI solutions across the UK industry
  • Emerging Technology Guiding future investment decisions in emerging technologies
  • Explain Application training in digital technologies

Positive impacts

The positive impacts section in the report confirms that, as of December 2022, the HNCDI program has:

  • Launched 44 projects in Emerging Technology R&D, Explore, and Excelerate workflows.
  • Involving 22 partner organizations in these three workflows, securing 157,080 contributions from industry collaborations.
  • Achieved 10 peer-reviewed publications, with two pending patent applications.
  • Engaged with 544 people from 239 organizations through its free training for the industry, under the training workflow, Explain.

Risk reduction

Kate Royse, director of STFC Hartree, said: At the Hartree Centre, we want to support UK businesses by de-risking them to explore and adopt the new digital technologies they need to solve important industry challenges.

So it’s good to know that the HNCDI is already making substantial progress in helping companies upskill their people, explore new technologies and incorporate new products and processes that take advantage of advanced digital technologies.

Whatever the size of a business or organisation, we have a proven track record of working with industry, from start-ups to large corporations and public sector organisations. It is really important to us that support for the adoption of digital technology reaches as many businesses as possible across the UK, putting digital innovation at the heart of our future economic sustainability.

Support local businesses across the UK

With this in mind, the progress report also highlights the recent announcement of the Hartree Center SME hubs.

The Hartree Center SME Hubs were set up to enable regional SMEs across the UK to adopt advanced digital technologies to increase their competitiveness and growth.

Cardiff University, Newcastle University and the University of Ulster have been selected to establish the hubs. They will provide support and promote knowledge exchange to enable their local SMEs to upskill and unlock their potential through digital transformation.

Case studies highlighted in HNCDI progress report

  • AI-based precision medicine for inflammatory bowel disease

Biotech company ReproCell has accelerated the development of machine learning algorithms used in precision medicine by working with the HNCDI on an AI-powered platform that can simplify complicated medical datasets.

In this way, pharmaceutical companies can streamline effective new drug treatments quickly and cost-effectively for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, with the potential to expand into cancer therapies.

  • Quantum Machine Learning strategies to accelerate drug discovery

The Hartree Center and IBM investigated the potential of quantum computing to accelerate the drug discovery process and reduce costs by researching a specific technique that sifts through digital databases of molecules to identify structures most likely to bind to a drug target.

They found that quantum machine learning strategies have surpassed both classical HPC algorithms and deep learning methodologies (currently the state of the art in drug discovery), supporting computations at exponentially higher orders of complexity to increase efficiency and the accuracy.

The team published an article [link to] on the findings earlier this year and is now discussing follow-up projects with UK pharmaceutical companies.

  • Using artificial intelligence to map flood risk

Mapping the risk of climate events requires the analysis of comprehensive datasets, usually done through a time-consuming semi-manual process.

At HNCDI, the team developed an AI-based machine learning algorithm through which they were able to speed up the process of identifying past and current flood events using satellite data.

As a result, the team successfully developed a platform that can map climate events and improve the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure, enhancing the ability to deal with damage and prepare for crisis responses across multiple climate applications.

  • NSG Pilkington embraces data science

NSG Pilkington manufactures and processes glass for the architectural and automotive industries.

Collaboration with the Hartree Center on two materials discovery projects inspired company-wide recognition of potential data science applications. NSG piloted a program to train its staff in data science through the HNCDI EXPLAIN training program.

From materials science to legal teams, NSG staff have enrolled in 61 courses and reported increased confidence in framing and communicating their requirements to data science experts. They also reported feeling better equipped to tackle the internal challenges of data science.

Read the full progress report and highlights report on the website.

About the STFC Hartree Centre

The mission of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centers is to transform UK industry through high-performance computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. As part of UK research and innovation, the Hartree Center is home to some of the UK’s most advanced information, data and artificial intelligence technologies.

From early-stage SMBs to international corporations, Hartree Center experts collaborate with industry and the research community to address real-life challenges and accelerate the adoption of high-performance technologies, delivering transformative benefits in terms of of performance, productivity and time-to-market.

Source: STFC Hartree Centre

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