EDINBURGH-based Codeplay Software has been enlisted by the US Government to play an important role in the development of a supercomputer that could be used to simulate future pandemics.

Chief executive Andrew Richards said Codeplay’s software has been selected to power the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s next supercomputer, Perlmutter.

The computer is expected to be used by researchers working in areas ranging from healthcare to earthquake forecasting to complete complex analyses that involve the processing of massive amounts of information.

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“The use of NERSC supercomputers and big data systems are necessary to study scientific problems that are either too big for standard computers or would take them too long to complete,” said Mr Richards.

The value of the contract was not disclosed.

It represents a significant coup for Codeplay, which specialises in writing software that allows artificial intelligence to speed up the operation of computer chips. The company’s AI technology is used in self-driving vehicles.

Mr Richards noted: “This is excellent recognition of the quality of our work, as we see this contract win very much as a steppingstone towards further commercial success, particularly in the US, where so many world-leading technology companies are located.”

The contract win will burnish the global reputation of Codeplay, which secured £3.1 million backing in 2017 from private equity heavyweight Foresight. Half of this came through a fund backed by the company behind the Williams Formula 1 team.

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Foresight director Chris Wardle said: “Codeplay is a great example of a British technology company punching far above its weight overseas, developing cutting edge technologies that change the way that we live.”

Codeplay was founded by Mr Richards and robotics expert Jens-Uwe Dolinsky in 2002 as a computer games specialist.

The company employs 70 developers, of more than 20 nationalities.

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It develops compilers which are used to convert programmes written in computer languages into instructions that machines can understand.