Once you’ve seen What we do, you might wonder how well we do it. Here is a selection of testimonials from academics we have collaborated with

GPU Computing

“The FLAME GPU software is important in my research as it has allowed me to implement a model that has a scale that would have been infeasible to run before and in addition reduced run-times by over 95% when migrating from FLAME CPU on my personal PC. Migration of the model from standard FLAME to FLAME GPU was very simple due to the abstraction of the GPU elements and thanks to the help of Dr Richmond with both debugging and optimization” Dr David Rhodes (Research Associate, Department of Cardiovascular Science, University of Sheffield)

“Paul’s professional and positive attitude towards engaging with our industry problems, and his clearn communication style were immediately helpful to me. As a direct result of Paul’s knowledgeable technical expertise, and his patient clear explanations, we were able to target our development work towards areas that had the greatest improvement potential for our customers.” - Dr David Worthington, Head of Department, Risk and Reliability Mathematical Modelling, DNV-GL.

“Dr. Richmond has a long track record of working with NVIDIA. He established The University of Sheffield’s GPU Research Center (formerly CUDA Research Center) in 2011 through his innovative work in accelerating complex systems simulations via his FLAME GPU software. He has since established the GPUComputing@Sheffield group, through which he provides extremely sought after, and highly regarded training and support, for GPU and accelerated computing users. He has presented at our annual conference, The GPU Technology Conference, for the past three consecutive years and is a member of our NDA briefing sessions and GPU Research Center events.” - Dr David Luebke, NVIDIA Distinguished Inventor & Sr. Director of Research, NVIDIA Corporation.

“Through my involvement with Dr Richmond in the role of Chief Technical Officer at the TSC (and via previous interactions with Dr Richmond as a Technology Fellow at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre) I know him to have an exceptional technical knowledge and communicative ability in accelerated computing and visualisation using GPUs. The TSC has commissioned him to provide a public technology demonstration to showcase his talent which was featured prominently at the launch of our multi-million pound Imovation centre. We are currently working with Dr Richmond and his summer student on the development of an updated version of this demonstration which utilises virtual reality (VR) displays and our 3D Omnifinity multi direction treadmill. We expect the demonstration to gain significant industrial impact and will work with Dr Richmond on expanding this capability in the future.” - Paul Zanelli, Chief Technical Officer, Transport Systems, Catapult.

“I have the pleasure to work with Paul for a couple of years in the topic of high performance agent based simulation, more specifically applied to the simulation of pedestrian crowds. This research area is becoming more commonplace during the design stages of buildings and public spaces, and a need for fast decision support tool that could be used to facilitate the after response planning and real-time decision making process following an incident has now emerged”, …, “I give Paul my highest recommendation. He is a very valuable research scientist and a talented speaker. He has uncanny ability to develop innovative solutions to provide flexible approaches to complex systems modelling” - Dr Steven Harris, University & Collaborative Relationship Manager, BAE Systems (Operations) Limited.

Research Software Engineering

“I was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Landscape (University of Sheffield) when I met Mike Croucher and Anna Krystalli, who were tremendously helpful to refining my results for publication. My PhD research (same Department) assessed the vegetation and substrates of some of the oldest extensive green roofs in Europe using methods of applied ecology. The software I had used for my PhD dissertation did not provide the resolution of data that a peer-reviewed journal would require for a particular set of figures, and the only software that could do so was R, which I had never used. After some initial correspondence and meetings with Mike, which were extremely efficient and productive, Anna helped me to generate the figures and set me up with the code to manipulate them. She also set me up with good practices for data management, which will be invaluable for future collaboration and work. Anna’s enthusiasm and positivity boosted my confidence and gave me a sense of excitement to my work, for which I’m deeply grateful. Taken together, the experience of working with Mike and Anna was positive, productive, fun, and inspiring. Many many thanks!” - Christine Thuring, Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield.

“I am a first year PhD student in the Economics Department at the University of Strathclyde. My research area is Bayesian Econometrics and involves deploying and extending existing methods so that interdependencies between countries can be recognised in analysis involving many countries. As I began scaling my model up to include more countries, I was finding that my Matlab code was taking increasingly long to run and much of the long run time was caused by a few lines in my code. Mike was kind enough to respond very quickly to my e-mail seeking advice and within a few days had figured out how to reduce code run time from 9 days to 5 hours! This has really aided my research in that I can now explore different permutations and modifications far more quickly and efficiently.” - Sharada Davidson, Economics, University of Strathclyde.

“I am a second year Engineering Doctoral student in Material Science and Engineering department of the University of Sheffield. My research is about the improvement of an Electron Beam Melting process to make it feasible for aerospace applications. As a distant student, although I have only contacted Dr Mike Croucher with email, he has efficiently and friendly improved my MATLAB code to make it at least twice as fast with minimum change. The improved code is stated with very clear justification, and is very easy to understand. I am very appreciative of the help from him, and now, I do not need the leave the code running at night!” - Yuxing Cui, Material Science, University of Sheffield.

“I am a first-year PhD student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield, working on metal additive manufacture using a pulsed laser system. Part of my research required a Matlab model to calculate the temperature field and therefore the size and shape of the melt pool created by the laser, which was taking over 2 hours to run. Mike was able to take my model and make it run 800x faster by taking a combined analytical and numerical approach to the integration stages. He carried out error-checking between the original and improved versions, and identified some small differences, which he then sanity-checked against a third calculation approach to reach a preferred solution. The results were available within a week of my initial request and Mike organised a face-to-face meeting to go through the changes to the program and make sure it ran successfully on my computer. Thank you!” - Felicity Freeman, Material Science, University of Sheffield.

“Dr Mike Croucher and I collaborate on the development of a software for behavioral neuroscientists that allows a detailed analysis of rodent strategies in learning and memory tasks (T. Gehring et al Sci Rep 2015). Mike is an amazing collaborator, efficient, effective and most courteous. I firmly believe in his philosophy on the reproducibility of scientific results and on research software development. Mike’s contribution to our project is essential; working together has been a great experience that I hope will continue for a long time.” - Dr Eleni Vasilaki, Senior Lecturer, Computer Science, University of Sheffield.

“I am a post-doc researcher in the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield. My current research is on using nonlinear system identification and signal processing methods to reveal the mechanism behind neurological disorders. Since the high sampling rate of real electroencephalogram (EEG) signals and the complexity of the nonlinear models, the Matlab algorithm is quite time consuming to run. Mike used several approaches to help optimise the MATLAB code and now it runs 4 times faster. He also explained the elements of efficient programming for my problem and provided options for potential further speed up of the code. This is very helpful for my future research.” - Fei He, Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield (Language used: MATLAB).

“I am a graduate student in the Biostatistics Department at Harvard. I am interested in developing new pathway-based methods for functional genomics. I was having a hard time implementing a meta-analysis method to calculate the correlation between gene sets across a fairly large number of gene expression microarrays in R. Given the large number of samples, it took me a couple of days to get results. Mike helped me to optimize the code. With the optimized code, I was able to include more samples and larger collection of gene sets. Before, it took about 2 hours to process each sample, now it takes less than 10 minutes. Mike’s help was crucial to make feasible implementing my method.” - Yered Pita-Juarez, Harvard (Language used: R).

“I am a one-year research student of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield. My project is interested in the buckling of stainless steel square hollow sections, with study of results coming from Monte-Carlo numerical simulations on Iceberg (HPC of the University of Sheffield). As I need to run thousands of simulations, the most efficient method was to code a Pyhton script, working concurrently with Abaqus, but I was struggling on how to run my scripts remotely (on the server) just from a local Python script. Mike helped me to accomplish that last step of the code and I can now launch a full Abaqus submission on Iceberg from one Python code, without any efforts. It is a valuable help in order to run all the simulations. I would like to thank him for his help on the script; I would definitely recommend him for any scripting problem.” - Raphaël Démolis, University of Sheffield. Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Language used: Python.

High Performance Computing

“I am a final year PhD student in the School of Clinical Dentistry, and Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. My research involves investigating the effects of neighbourhood environments on spatial inequalities in tooth decay, using the agent-based modelling software NetLogo. Due to the number of interactions involved in the models, and the need to run hundreds of these simulations, the computational intensity of the work required the use of the university’s HPC (Iceberg). Dr Mike Croucher not only installed Netlogo on Iceberg, but also designing a script which allowed these models to run, without which there is no way I would have gained the results in time. I am incredibly grateful to Mike for all of his hard work, and the positive approach he took to my problem throughout. I would thoroughly recommend working with him, and have mentioned him to a number of colleagues.” - Tom Broomhead, Dentistry/Geography, University of Sheffield”.

“I am a third-year PhD student of the Chemoinformatics Group in the Information School Department at the University of Sheffield. My research project involved iterations of nearest neighbour searches using high dimensional chemical representation. The intensive calculations and limitations of computational resources have been my biggest problem in completing the task using the KNIME software. Dr Mike Croucher has been helping me to setup the KNIME software on the Iceberg and managed to help me run some samples of application. I am so excited that I am able to run my experiments on the Iceberg with his help. I would to thanks Dr Mike for the work he have put in over the last few months on the configuration of my software on the Iceberg. I have already shared my experience and recommended him to my other colleagues” - Lucyantie Mazalan, Chemoinformatics Group, University of Sheffield.

“Mike was instrumental in providing the bcl2fastq software package on Iceberg. This is an essential tool which enables the conversion of the image files (bcl) which are produced by the Illumina next generation sequencing machines into a more manageable fastq, text-like, format. Whilst it was described as a relatively trivial process there were a number of support prerequisite packages that needed to be incorporated which meant it required a skilled approach to achieve a successful implementation. Without Mike’s support we would not have been able to continue our analysis.” Dr Paul R. Heath, Senior Scientific Officer, SITraN, University of Sheffield

“Mike Croucher installed MITgcm on Iceberg for me, after I had tried and failed several times. I use MITgcm to model the circulation of ocean water in Greenlandic fjords, and to assess the impacts in variations of ice sheet runoff on submarine ice melt and biological productivity. The model can output global Netcdf files rather than individual binary files of which there can be thousands when running a parallel simulation, but this requires specific compilers and an up-to-date Netcdf library. Installing MTgcm was complicated as there were a whole host of dependencies on different libraries built with specific compilers. In the end it required installation of new versions of various pieces of software - but nothing was too much trouble for Mike. He even ran some of the model test cases to make sure it was all working properly.” - Dr Andrew Sole, Faculty Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield.

“I am a fourth year PhD student in the Physics Department at the University of Sheffield. In my third year I performed a series of x-ray tomography experiments on beetle scales that generated over 10TB of raw data. The resulting 3-D reconstructions were >350 GB per sample. These could be reduced binary matrices, but to do this required several image processing steps on the full reconstruction. I contacted Dr. Mike Croucher about my situation and he gave me access to the Sheffield RSE group’s high memory nodes. Thanks to these nodes I have been able to process all of the data and run calculations on the final binary matrices that require >700GB of RAM. Without access to these nodes I wouldn’t have been able to even load the final matrices into memory on my computer let alone achieve any meaningful results. I owe my results, subsequent publications and the completion of my PhD to these high memory nodes as well as excellent advice/support provided by Dr. Will Furnass who helped me run and optimise my codes for the cluster.” - Stephanie Burg, Soft Matter Group, University of Sheffield.

Contact Us

For queries relating to collaborating with the RSE team on projects: rse@sheffield.ac.uk

Information and access to JADE II and Bede.

Join our mailing list so as to be notified when we advertise talks and workshops by subscribing to this Google Group.

Queries regarding free research computing support/guidance should be raised via our Code clinic or directed to the University IT helpdesk.