The EU-ASEAN High-Performance Computing (HPC) Virtual School 2021: System Design and HPC Applications is a hands-on virtual curriculum taught by foremost international experts in HPC technology. It is hosted by National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) Supercomputer Center (ThaiSC), Thailand.
Over five days from 5 to 9 July 2021, 60 selected participants from ASEAN Member States have learnt about the fundamentals of HPC design and applications to critical domains such as COVID-19, urgent computing and climate science from international luminaries from Europe, ASEAN and Japan through formal and practical courses.
By attending the school, students engaged in topics on HPC and HPC applications with international luminaries from the EU, ASEAN and Japan, with hands-on and virtual exercises. Cutting-edge technologies were presented, including MeluXina, a supercomputer from the LuxProvide HPC Centre in Luxembourg that was recently launched in June. Students also took part in a tutorial on LUMI, a EuroHPC world-class supercomputer in Finland. Lecturers from RIKEN Center for Computational Science Japan, home of the world’s number one supercomputer Fugaku, discussed ways in which natural disaster risks and life science can be successfully tackled with HPC among other subjects.
Participants acknowledged the progress of the HPC field in ASEAN, thanks to the virtual school on the final day. The panel discussion: The Future of High-Performance Computing, live-streamed on the ASEAN Secretariat YouTube Channel (link is external) and EU in ASEAN Facebook Page (link is external), brought top HPC scientists and practitioners together to debate the future of HPC and its current trends.
“As a home to more than 260 million people living on 17,000 islands across 34 provinces, Indonesia sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, making the archipelago particularly prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions,’’ said Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati, Head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, and panelist in the discussion. ‘’Thus, HPC is required to foster greater coherence of disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation efforts that provide access to risk information and early warning systems; and strengthen preparedness and response measures,” she concluded.
“Broad exchanges of ideas are essential for science to progress and such international initiatives involving scientists from a variety of countries and disciplines are more than ever a necessity. This is especially true in a competitive domain like high-performance computing that moves forward thanks to cutting edge scientific infrastructures and challenges coming from many different fields,” noted Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council and speaker at the EU-ASEAN HPC Virtual School.
In his closing remarks, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community Satvinder Singh mentioned that the EU has been at the forefront of supporting research and innovation, a role which was reinforced in its efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. “Applications of HPC are critical in the ASEAN Member States. Thus, this virtual school has shown great support for scientific research development in ASEAN. More importantly, it has highlighted the importance of strengthening region-to-region collaboration in research and innovation in the fight against COVID-19 and beyond,” he said.
The EU Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Igor Driesmans conveyed in his closing remarks that the EU and ASEAN are regional organisations bound by 44 years of solidarity and partnership. “Modelling and high-performance computing, as well as infrastructure platforms and projects, can help solve challenges in these difficult times. The EU-ASEAN HPC Virtual School has shed a particular light on the use of HPC systems in dealing with COVID-19,” he concluded.
Since the need for a shared ASEAN HPC facility by the ASEAN HPC Task Force was identified in 2018, a strong interest was expressed in cooperating with European and international experts to benefit from sharing of regional resources, training capacities, and experience with HPC applications. After this first school, the possibility of organising an in-person annual curriculum, rotating among the ASEAN Member States, for the future will be considered, once again developed with the strength of cross-regional collaboration.