NSTDA and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Thailand announced the plan to build a new supercomputer for NSTDA Supercomputer Center (ThaiSC) to support research communities in Thailand. The press conference – presided over by Prof. Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) - was held on 30 November 2021

According to NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, ThaiSC was established as a national S&T infrastructure to provide cutting-edge high-performance computing (HPC) resources to Thai research communities in both the public and private domains. The enhanced performance provided by the new system will improve the capability of researchers to perform scientific tasks in various areas including artificial intelligence and big data analytics, genomics and bioinformatics for medical research, nanoscale and atomistic-scale simulations for advanced materials research, engineering simulations for industrial research, and atmospheric science and disaster management.

Mr. Palasilp Vichivanives, Managing Director of HPE Thailand, explained that the new supercomputer will be built using the HPE Cray EX system. The design will feature 496 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors, 704 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, 12-petabyte Cray Clusterstor E1000 storage system and HPE Slingshot Interconnect. This new system will be 30 times faster than ThaiSC’s existing system. The new supercomputer will be installed and operational in 2022.

ThaiSC presently offers HPC services on TARA HPC Cluster, consisting of 4,320 compute cores, 28 NVIDIA V100 GPUs and 750 TB storage system. During the past years, ThaiSC supported multiple projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In one of the projects, ThaiSC provided its supercomputing resources to the COVID-19 Networks Investigation Alliance (CONI), enabling the team to obtain a genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 strain responsible for the outbreak in Thailand, cutting down the computing time from 1 week to 2 hours. In another project, tools in computational chemistry such as molecular dynamics, simulation and pharmacophore-based screening were employed to identify specific potential bioactive compounds effective against COVID-19 virus from databases of drugs and herbal extracts to further develop new drugs for treating COVID-19. Additionally, ThaiSC worked with the Pollution Control Department in developing Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) to speed up the 3-day PM2.5 forecast by 15 times.