Optimisation tools developed in the UoA have significantly advanced the
ability to find the best designs for complex systems in cases where these
were previously unobtainable. These optimisation tools have been
implemented in several companies to shorten design times, reduce costs and
reduce CO2 emissions. This has brought about new multi-million
pound revenues, long-term contracts, increased employment and contribution
to sustainability targets.
Transport crew scheduling research at Leeds University since 1994
produced optimising algorithms and industry-ready software that led to the
spinning out of Tracsis in 2004. The software, including upgrades, is used
by over 40 bus and train companies who previously relied on manual
processes. A minimum estimate of a £230 million saving in crew costs has
been achieved in the UK alone over 2008-31.7.2013. Since 2008, the
software has been routinely used by bidders in all UK rail franchise
tenders, contributing to cost effective, efficient and reliable rail
transport. Success led to the Tracsis floatation in November 2007 (market
capitalisation: £46.7 million on 22/5/2013).
Research at the University of Leeds has underpinned the company Lhasa
Ltd. which has made widely available the toxicity prediction software
currently known as Derek Nexus. The use of Derek Nexus by large
pharmaceutical companies to support drug development is effectively
universal. Toxicology prediction software has led to changes in guidelines
issued by regulatory authorities and to industry-wide changes to the
investigation of the toxicity of trace impurities. These changes have
reduced the resources needed for experimental investigation of toxicity,
and have increased revenues derived from launched drugs by extending their
patent period of exclusivity. Lhasa Ltd. derives income in support of its
charitable aims from Derek Nexus , and a related product Meteor Nexus
(Meteor) also based on research undertaken in Leeds. The company reported
revenues over £5.4M in 2012 and employs 71 highly qualified staff.
Spatial decomposition methods have been extended to apply to spatial,
scale, and temporal domains as a result of work at the Numerical and
Applied Mathematics Research Unit (NAMU) at the University of Greenwich.
This work has led to a numerical framework for tackling many nonlinear
problems which have been key bottlenecks in software design and scientific
computing. The work has benefitted the welding industry in the UK because
these concepts are now embedded, with parallel computing, in the
industry's modern welding design process software.
Research carried out at the University of Leeds has led to the
development of a system for predicting severe air turbulence at airports
and elsewhere. The research modelled highly localised `rotor streaming'
turbulence which is too small-scale to predict using today's numerical
weather prediction models. The Met Office now uses the highly efficient
3DVOM computer prediction model, based on the Leeds research, to improve
its operational weather forecasting, especially for providing warnings of
`gustiness' to the public and airports and to highlight risks of
overturning of high-sided vehicles. In addition, the model is used by
forecasters to predict dangerous turbulence at Mount Pleasant Airport in
the Falkland Islands, and has led to the prevention of around five flight
diversions per year at an estimated cost saving of £1.25 million.
Effective industrial design and simulation require efficient and
versatile computing systems. As a result of research performed by our team
experienced in High Performance Computing (HPC), novel software structures
and aligned hardware architectures have led to significant benefits to the
energy supply industry and to microprocessor manufacturers.
As a result of our research with supercomputing, simulation times for
electric field patterns in power components have reduced more than
30-fold, with accurate complex 3-D outputs for an increased range of
configurations, thereby enabling our partner company to achieve results
not possible with commercial software and to reduce product development
costs by $0.5M - $5M p.a.
Our research has been incorporated by Intel into their numerical
libraries and now made available to the general public supported by their
latest processor architectures. Intel now has a 82% share of processors,
according to the November 2013 Top500 list.
Computational research work at Swansea concerned with finite
element/discrete element analysis, has made a profound impact on the
solution of industrial problems. The development and implementation of
novel computational algorithms and their subsequent application to leading
edge engineering and scientific problems has been effected through the
commercial software system ELFEN, developed collaboratively with Rockfield
Software Ltd, a spin-out company from Swansea University. ELFEN has
enabled the company to expand through the development of an international
reputation as a leading provider of computational technology to the
defence, manufacturing, oil recovery, mining and other sectors. Specific
examples of economic benefit described in this case study are (i) design
methodology for weight reduction in glass container production resulting
in significant energy and CO2 emission savings and (ii)
computational modelling of rock blasting operations leading to substantial
economies in the mining industry.
Research at Swansea University in the area of computational
electromagnetics has led to better design of aircraft with respect to
radar detection and the screening of internal systems from the effect of
unwanted electromagnetic field ingress. A key issue was the development of
an ability to accommodate electromagnetically large complex bodies having
spatially small, but electromagnetically important, features. In addition,
procedures for modelling RF threats, including lightning strikes and
electromagnetic hazards, were also developed. Such progress has enabled
significant improvement in electromagnetic performance of technology
produced by BAE Systems reaching across its Advanced Technology Centre and
its business units (Military Aircraft and Information, and Naval Ships).
This research enabled two-orders-of-magnitude improvement in efficiency of
BAE software compared to previously used techniques, significantly
reducing design time. These developments were used on major international
programmes such as TYPHOON, the Taranis UCAV (unmanned Combat Air Vehicle).
Textile-heritage research at the University of Leeds has informed and
improved public awareness and understanding of textile heritages among
target audiences, especially school children, community groups,
volunteers, interns and teachers. Through hands-on workshops, conventional
publications, talks and lectures, a strong website presence and public
exhibitions, the research has engaged and inspired audiences, and has
underpinned a `best practice' resource for other museums and archives.
Impact is demonstrated through direct feedback from workshop participants,
evidence of community engagement, commentary in the visitors' book,
website hits, and also from accreditations, awards and endorsements from
key national arts organisations in recognition of initiatives enhancing
public appreciation of textile heritages.
Spatial models developed from research in the School of Geography about
population movements in cities are informing commercial planning and
public policy analysis. The conduit for this impact is GMAP Ltd., a
spin-out company established by the University of Leeds, which has used
the models as the basis for its MicroVision and RetailVision software.
Companies including Ford, Exxon, HBoS and Asda-Walmart have used this
software for a range of purposes including maximizing individual stores'
profitability and reconfiguring entire networks to fit changing market
conditions. Government agencies have also used the software to optimize
resource allocation in policing, education and healthcare.