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Empowering researchers

The ASEAN High-Performance Computing School 2023 takes centre stage

High-performance computing (HPC) serves as the powerhouse for collecting and processing vast datasets, offering a potent tool to tackle regional and global challenges.

The escalating dependence on technology as a solution to societal issues highlights the critical need to enhance HPC skills and proficiency within the ASEAN region.

Throughout the globe, HPC is increasingly employed to tackle intricate issues within our societies.

Scientists hailing from the ASEAN region have embraced this trend, leveraging their expertise in HPC gained from diverse institutions.

In September 2019, students from several ASEAN member states actively participated in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) summer school on HPC in Barcelona.

Subsequently, in December 2019, a delegation comprising senior ASEAN scientists underwent an intensive week-long training session at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. These collaborative exchanges have significantly raised awareness about the imperative need to enhance HPC skills and proficiency in the ASEAN region.

TRANSFORMATIVE TRENDS

The concept of establishing a collaborative ASEAN HPC facility emerged from the efforts of the ASEAN Task Force in 2018.

A year later, discussions between the EU and ASEAN commenced, focusing on the crucial need to enhance HPC access for scientists from both regions.

The dialogue gave rise to the vision of the ASEAN HPC School – the inaugural regional HPC School in ASEAN, fostering collaboration with European and international experts.

The school was officially introduced during the EU-ASEAN-Japan Symposium at the Supercomputing Asia conference on March 4, 2021, and took place virtually in July 2021.

Nestled within the framework of the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI), the HPC School emerges as an inspiration of knowledge exchange and skill augmentation.

It equips researchers with the technical prowess to navigate the complexities of HPC and facilitates a dynamic cross-cultural exchange, fostering collaboration on a global scale.

In the dynamic sphere of technological advancement, the EU-ASEAN HPC School reflects the steadfast dedication of ASEAN nations to leverage the transformative potential of high-performance computing.

This significant initiative is set to foster collaboration and innovation within the ASEAN region, marking a focal moment in the ongoing partnership between the European Union (EU), Japan, and ASEAN.

The HPC School, now in its third consecutive year, has become a guiding light for knowledge and skill enhancement in the ever-evolving field of high-performance computing. The EU, in collaboration with Japan and ASEAN, initiated the school to address the growing dependence on technology to tackle global challenges.

The virtual hosting of the 2021 school was undertaken by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) Supercomputer Centre (ThaiSC) in Thailand. The event was organised by the ASEAN HPC Task Force (HPCTF) and executed within the framework of the E-READI.

Building on the success of the inaugural school and its preparatory activities that commenced in 2019, the second edition of the EU-ASEAN HPC School convened in person at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, from December 5-10, 2022.

The event received endorsement and support from key stakeholders, including the European Union Delegation to ASEAN, ASEAN Secretariat, Thailand’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), and the private sector.

TECH ODYSSEY

Further embarking on a technological odyssey, the third annual High-Performance Computing (HPC) School for South-East Asian researchers has commenced its week-long session, hosted this year in Bogor, Indonesia.

Organised by the Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), the event boasts participation from over 80 carefully selected researchers focusing on HPC applications in Life Sciences, Urgent Computing, Climate Science, and Computer Science.

Tailored to address the burgeoning demand, this week-long program caters to exceptional ASEAN researchers, primarily at the postgraduate level. The curriculum is an intricate composition crafted by international luminaries in HPC technology, with expertise stemming from Europe, Japan, ASEAN, and beyond.

The success of the first two editions paved the way for the 2023 instalment, organised entirely by an ASEAN member state – Indonesia.

From December 11 to 16, 2023, participants from various ASEAN nations gather in Bogor to delve into the intricacies of HPC, a critical tool in addressing contemporary challenges.

The curriculum spans a wide range of applications, emphasising the need for enhanced HPC skills in the region. The move to have an ASEAN Member State take the lead in organizing and managing the school is seen as a strategic step towards deepening digital connectivity, encouraging innovation, and overcoming the high entry barriers associated with HPC.

Reflecting on the significance of the HPC School, Ambassador of the European Union to ASEAN Sujiro Seam said, “The HPC schools expose exceptional Southeast Asian researchers, primarily at the postgraduate level, to a hands-on curriculum taught by international luminaries in HPC technology from Japan, Europe, Southeast Asia, and beyond.”

He emphasised the EU’s commitment to recognising the growing importance of HPC and highlighted their investments in HPC infrastructure through the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU).

The ASEAN HPC School 2023 serves as a platform for ASEAN talents to engage with leading international HPC experts, further fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Among the notable figures, participants will have the opportunity to interact with is Dr Leslie Lamport, the 2013 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Turing Laureate.

This initiative not only contributes to the region’s digital advancement but also exemplifies the collaborative spirit among nations in addressing the challenges of the future.

With the support of the EU through the E-READI, the HPC School continues to pave the way for a future where ASEAN researchers are at the forefront of high-performance computing, contributing to global advancements in science and technology. – Izah Azahari

PHOTO: FREEPIK
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