Ruth Mitchell

Newcastle scientists develop 'future proof' computer systems

Computer scientists from Newcastle University are leading a £13.4m EU project designed to make technology more robust and reliable. The DEPLOY project, led by the School of Computing Science, will work across five industry sectors - transportation, automotive, space, telecommunication and business information.

Beginning this week, it builds on a three-year project just completed by the University, which created new ways of building fault tolerance into computer systems. These methods are now ready to be put to the test, with five leading European companies already signed up: Siemens, Bosch, Space Systems, Nokia and SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing).

Work being carried out will feed into projects such as the 2013 European Space Agency’s mission to explore Mercury and train security on the Paris Metro.

Project Director Professor Sascha Romanovsky said: “It is very unusual for a university to be leading a project like this as it’s normally industry-led, so it’s a great honour for us to be working with some of the top names in European industry. The industry partners put in 50 percent of their own money, which is a sure sign that they take this seriously. “From the start we’ve made it clear that we’re not going to carry out research that is not meeting industry’s needs. This project will only be a success if we are able to create what they need and can use.”

As well as leading the project, Newcastle University is also co-ordinating the dependability systems strand. This will involve working with several of the industrial partners to develop the technology and train them in the use of the new systems. A pilot will be set up in each different industry sector, which will be tested and developed for a year before going into production.

Professor Romanovsky said: “Any system we create needs to be self-sufficient and the staff need to understand our methods and tools. This is not just a four-year project which will end when we walk away from it - the whole point is that these methods last for many years to come.”

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