University of Glasgow lends support to £2m cloud computing research hub


Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering are lending their support to a new project which is setting out to drive advances in cloud computing.

The initiative, known as Communications Hub for Empowering Distributed Cloud Computing Applications and Research, or CHEDDAR, has received £2m in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - part of UK Research and Innovation.

EPSRC’s backing for CHEDDAR is part of a wider £6m investment in the technologies of tomorrow, which aim to develop innovations in communications systems, whilst connecting the wider academic, business and international communities.

The CHEDDAR team, 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. In addition to the University of Glasgow, partners include the Universities of Cranfield, York, Leeds, and Durham.

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.

The University of Glasgow’s contribution to CHEDDAR is led by Professor Muhammad Imran. He is head of the University of Glasgow’s Communications, Sensing and Imaging hub and the Autonomous Systems and Connectivity Division.

The group works to develop new applications for advanced telecommunications in areas including wireless networks, healthcare and artificial intelligence. The University of Glasgow is home to an urban 5G testbed for the communication solutions required for sustainable, attractive and resilient cities.

Professor Imran said: -We are thrilled to announce the successful launch of our EPSRC hub for future telecom and 6G development, which represents a major milestone for the UK’s academia and industry.

-With this hub, we will be paving the way for a new era of connectivity that will revolutionize the way we live, work, and communicate. By pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, we are driving innovation forward and positioning the UK at the forefront of the global technology landscape. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to make strides towards a more connected and prosperous future."

Professor Julie McCann, Vice-Dean (Research) for Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering, is leading the CHEDDAR project.

Professor McCann 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.-

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.-