EIDF: a long-term, comprehensive data infrastructure

The Edinburgh International Data Facility will exist for the long term and will be continuously improved to meet its users’ needs.

When we were planning the DDI programme we knew we had to provide a comprehensive data-focussed computing infrastructure to support all of the needs of the many thousands of projects the programme will support over its 15-year duration. Since the deal was signed in 2018, we have been working to create the first version of this infrastructure and throughout 2020 we will begin rolling it out to support early projects.

A key part of the investment is a new computer room at the University of Edinburgh. The University has led the development of High Performance Computing in the UK for the past 30 years through EPCC which today is the UK’s National Supercomputing Centre. The new computer room gives EPCC, which is responsible for delivering the Edinburgh International Data Facility, the space to create a truly world-class data infrastructure.

From the outset we have taken an approach of spreading spending on the infrastructure over a 10-year period. Allowing us to build an initial infrastructure from a set of “building blocks” and then to grow it according to need. By spreading the development of the infrastructure over this long period we can give all of the DDI programme’s projects the confidence that the infrastructure will exist for the long term and that it will be continuously improved to meet its users’ needs over the long term. We believe this is a much better approach than building a massive infrastructure from the outset only to discover the wrong mix of systems have been deployed. It will also allow us to continuously innovate, using the current best equipment and software so that DDI projects are developing their software and services on the leading edge of technology.


Prof. Mark Parsons, EIDF Senior Responsible Officer, and EPCC Director

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