Opportunities for Enterprises
ARC-SYM aims to:
- Engage with the enterprise by deploying researchers with wide domain expertise
- Understand the problem as described by the client: ‘letting the data speak for itself’
- Deploy simple, powerful and easy-to-expand models, either top-down or bottom-up
- Implement the models on a range of appropriate platforms from handheld to HPC
- Facilitate client/collaborator visualization through a range of devices from handheld to laptop
- Provide mass storage, initially distributed through a form of bespoke secure distributed architecture
- Provide Continuous Professional Development and training.
We provide consulting services using our Simulation and Modelling expertise in areas of Business Process Modelling, Time Series Analysis, Supply Chain Management, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Genomics and Bioinformatics as well as newer ones such as Agricultural Data Modelling. This can be either in terms of person-months on projects, and includes help writing competitive bids for computational research consortia together with access to HPC resources as necessary.
At present, national Research Centres as well as large organisations tend to be either too large, too inflexible or simply do not have the interdisciplinary focus or modelling breadth or bandwidth to anticipate the emergent needs of many of their customers. Such customers often take the form of networked organisations and/or complex dynamic networks with huge (often real-time) data processing needs. Such data can be internally or externally generated and is often characterised by high signal-to-noise ratios. ARC-SYM provides a crucial internal nexus of generic and specialised skillsets, and aims to providea better, more efficient and effective service to internal and external stakeholders.
ARC-SYM’s Customers/Stakeholders (and their services from the Centre) are diverse:
- Individual Researchers/ SMEs / Small, Medium and Large-sized National Research Centres: ARC-SYM has strong collaborations with (and service provision to) these groups in terms of Simulation/ Modelling/ Visualization expertise. To Large-sized National Research Centres we (a) offer collaborative opportunities on test-bed/ sandbox projects that might be too risky for PG students to undertake and (b) augment CPD/ Training provision through Graduate Training Elements (GTEs) offered on a number of Taught Masters Programmes on which PG students can enrol
- International Research Centres/ Virtual Enterprises/ EU Consortia: ARC-SYM contributes to these partners through computational expertise and HPC hours in Solving Grand Challenge Problems)
- Larger Industry/ DCU/ Partners: We offer our expertise on for Patents/Tenders as well as the above Training/ CPD/ Infrastructure/ Services/ Resources/ Capabilities.
Efficiency of Service Provision
ARC-SYM believes that by bundling expertise we are better and more efficient and effective. We aim to provide a one-stop-shop for all the expertise and services associated with Research Computing. Again evidence from companies like Orbitage in skills assessment has shown, outsourcing of CPD services and Training Needs Analysis by Large Industry to much smaller niche organizations has strong growth potential. Here, we show evidence of previous engagement with Industry and potential future growth opportunities.
A common problem in industry/academia is the need for access to more computing services (e.g. Visualisation) and resources (e.g. cores, memory, and disk space) than a desktop provides. Institutions might have HPC access, but frequently no one in a research group might have used this service, but instead run jobs on higher spec machines or several other research groups in the department might pool funds to take advantage of the computing service. The economics of service provision in the provision of Research Computing services is that rather than try to purchase computing hardware, access the system administration skills, the expertise in specialist computational services and reconciling the busy/idle efficiency involved, a one-stop shop service-based approach would be a more sensible and preferable option. If the results are more valuable than the cost outlay on cores and system administration skills bought in, then the cost outlay on renting core time is, arguably, negligible. Also within a short time the depreciation cost of computing resources is considerable if their use is merely episodic by an enterprise.
Current and Future Evidence of ARC-SYM Engagement with Industry
Members of the Centre currently actively engage with enterprises to provide computational services in such diverse areas of interest to Industry such as Probabilistic Modelling for Targeted Drug Delivery Systems (with Sigmoid Pharma); Business Process Modelling for Optimization in Manufacture with large companies (such as Intel and within the Innovation Value Institute); Network Analysis for Customer Relationship Maintenance; Data Quality Management. We believe that there is a huge untapped source of problems in diverse areas with real growth potential such as the Food and Agriculture sectors. In many areas such as these, most Small and Medium Enterprises especially have little or no exposure to the predictive power of Simulation and Modelling.
Continuous Professional Development
The market need for such service provision has already been established. For instance, the School of Electronic Engineering has had a successful academic link with Beijing University of Posts & Telecommunications to provide a Master’s level degree as part of a 3.5 : 1.5 model. As part of the unsuccessful IT Future of Medicine FET Flagship bid in 2012/13 (of which ARC-SYM member Dr. Martin Crane were leaders of the Education and Training Workpackage), Centre members identified skills deficits in all of the (some 200) partner institutions and targeted a Fuzzy Logic Recommender System for Skills Assessment. There is a huge future for technology in the area of Training Needs Analysis/ Skills Assessment tied with CPD service provision. This aligning of technical competence with Corporate Strategy ties in with the current trend in industry at all levels of targeting outsourced upskilling needs of companies of all sizes.