SAP, Europe’s largest software firm, has announced that it is to invest EUR2.2 million in a new research centre to be located in Belfast.
Invest Northern Ireland has offered a Start programme package of EUR1.3 million towards the establishment of the centre, which will focus on carrying out leading-edge research in the emerging field of grid computing.
The development agency’s Start programme aims to increase the amount of industrial research undertaken by companies either on their own or in partnership with universities based in Northern Ireland.
Grid computing refers to the linking of computers, data and application software to provide more computing power. Grids effectively pull together the processing power and data storage capacity of hundreds or thousands of computers, spread over many locations, to solve a single problem — typically a scientific or technical problem that requires a great deal of computing power to process large amounts of data.
“Belfast offers a wealth of relevant expertise particularly through the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, a leader in grid computing research worldwide,” said Jeremy Fitch, managing director of Business International, Invest NI.
“The project is highly innovative and the knowledge developed in Belfast will put Northern Ireland in a very strong position to attract similar foreign ICT investments.”
SAP is one of the world’s leading providers of business software applications. The German firm employs 30,000 people in more than 50 countries and has a turnover of over USD7 billion. It is estimated that more than 29,800 customers in over 120 countries run more than 100,600 installations of SAP software.
“Our aim is to strengthen SAP’s leadership in the area of IT innovation,” said Wolfgang Gerteis, director of the SAP Research Campus-based Engineering Centre (CEC) in Belfast. “In the Belfast CEC, we will be focusing on grid computing and are looking forward to working with the local universities to make significant advances in this area,” he added.