Wales is to create a Â£40 million supercomputer highway for use by business, industry and the Welsh economy.
It will enable tasks that can take months using normal computers to be done in days or even minutes.
Cutting-edge computing facilities will be available for use by businesses working independently or in collaboration with academics and will establish Wales as a key international centre for specialist computational research, said the Assembly Government today.
Known as High Performance Computing Wales (HPC Wales), it will consist of three elements - investment in high performance computing equipment, infrastructure and pan-Wales distribution networks ; a training academy to develop high performance computing skills, and an institute to provide high level technical services to support research and economic activities.
High performance computing technology has the capacity to handle and analyse massive amounts of data at high speed.
Tasks that can take months using normal computers can be done in days or even minutes. It is used to model and solve highly complex problems across a range of high value sectors.
Uses are diverse and examples include facial reconstruction modelling, animated graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, petroleum exploration, car crash simulations, airflows over aircraft wings, data mining and storage and visualisation.
The main computer hubs for HPC Wales will be in Cardiff and Swansea, linked to spokes at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Glamorgan Universities, University of Wales Alliance Universities and Technium business innovation centres around Wales.
HPC Wales will be managed by a charitable, not-for-profit organisation set up by the St Davidâ€™s Day Group of Universities and the University of Wales Alliance.
Professor Noel Lloyd, chair of Higher Education Wales and vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said, â€œThis is tremendous for Wales, both in terms of research capacity and the ways in which the Higher Education sector can work in collaboration to provide opportunities and training for business.
â€œUniversities have crucial contributions to make at local, Wales-wide, UK and international levels and the enhancements offered by this project will further our already important contribution to economic development.
â€œHPC Wales is also an excellent example of higher education institutions in Wales collaborating to achieve a common goal. This project would not have been possible without the commitment of many people working both within higher education and the Welsh Assembly Government. The teamwork and cooperation has been outstanding and an excellent indicator for the future.â€
Professor Ian Cluckie, Swansea Universityâ€™s Pro Vice Chancellor for Science and Engineering, said, â€œSwansea University is proud to be working closely with Cardiff University and the other higher education institutions - in what is a pan-Wales development.
â€œIt will ensure that researchers, students and businesses have access to state-of-the-art, high performance computing, that is required to undertake the internationally recognised research that drives the knowledge economy and underpins the Welsh agenda in crucial sectors such as health, science, engineering and advanced manufacturing.
Funding for the project comes from the following:
â€¢ Â£19m from ERDF and ESF European funds channelled through WEFO.
â€¢ Â£10m from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
â€¢ Â£4m from collaborating institutions
â€¢ Â£5m from the Welsh Assembly Government/ HEFCW
â€¢ Â£2m private sector and research income