Building Britain's Future - a strategic vision for Britain's recovery
STFC e-Science develops and operates technologies as services for science, but it also promotes those technologies to industry so that they have a greater impact on society.
Fully exploiting technology is the single most powerful lever the UK can employ to increase productivity across the economy. Within the UK economy, over three quarters of people now use IT as part of their job. Over 90% of managers, professionals, associate professionals and secretarial/administrative staff use IT. IT & Telecoms provides the key to increasing productivity and competitiveness.
In the past much of today's IT (e.g. computer animation, the Internet and the World Wide Web) started as services for science which have gone on to have global economic impact. Today, computer security and Grid technologies are being turned into innovative commercial products that could drive the future economy.
Some of the council's most significant IT contributions are:
Constellation Technologies, Ltd. is a pioneer in global grid infrastructure software. The company was registered 2007 in the UK, following a collaborative development between at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), UK and CERN, CH. It is supported by the STFC.
The STFC represent the UK in the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) in order to foster international collaborations to transform research breakthroughs into exploitable innovations.
The council is a member of the Networked European Software and Services Initiative (NESSI) in order to transfer to commercial ICT developers the knowledge created in our development projects and through operating services to meet the extreme requirements of scientists.
The RAL Networking Group was spun out from the research council as a not-for-profit company in 1994 in order to manage the operation and development of the computer network for the UK education and research community.
Nominet was created by Dr Willie Black (link opens in a new window)
from the RAL networking group in 1996 as a separate, private, not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee to manage the Internet top level domain for the United Kingdom (.uk).
The RAL Computing Applications Group developed several magnetic computer codes (GFUN, PE2D and TOSCA) during 1969-1984, which provided the basis for the creation of the company Vector Fields in 1984, which was acquired by Cobham plc in June 2005.
The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) specializes in the provision of software for the solution of mathematical, statistical and data mining problems. The NAG not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, began in 1970 as a collaborative venture led by Dr. Brian Ford, OBE, between the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford, and the Atlas Computer Laboratory (now part of the Science and Engineering Research Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory).
The Computer Graphics Group
worked closely with System Simulation Ltd (SSL) (link opens in a new window)
from 1970 until 1999 to demonstrate technology breakthroughs in computer generated imagery (CGI) or animation, but found that standardisation of technologies was the most effective way for those technologies to have an impact through wide adoption.
The 1979 Academy Award for visual effects (link opens in a new window)
was given to the Ridley Scott film 'Alien'
; the first major film to include CGI, which was generated on machines at RAL. (link opens in a new window)
Computer Graphics Group members under the leadership of Prof Bob Hopgood OBE contributed to many International Standards Organisation (ISO) graphics standards which have been widely used in commercial products, including:
- Computer Graphics Reference Model;
- Graphics Kernel System (GKS);
- Programmer's Hierarchical Interactive Graphics System (PHIGS);
- Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM);
- Presentation Environment for Multimedia Objects (PREMO);
- The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML);
- Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
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