03/08/2020

EU-ASEAN HPC initiative: fighting COVID-19 together


Under the overall umbrella of the ongoing ASEAN-EU Science, Technology and Innovation Dialogue conducted by ASEAN Committee for Science and Technology (COSTI) and the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), the EU-ASEAN High-Performance Computing (HPC) initiative was launched in 2019 with the support of the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI).

An HPC policy exchange platform composed by ASEAN and EU officials and experts has been established ‘EU-ASEAN HPC Coordination Group’ for region-to-region sectoral exchanges on respective priorities, capacities, roadmaps, and to support ASEAN HPC plans.

A study was launched in March 2019 to take stock of ASEAN HPC capacities and priorities and sectoral entry points for EU-ASEAN collaboration were identified in the Life Science and Earth Science domains.

Training sessions were organised for a delegation of ASEAN scientists to a primary HPC centre in Europe, the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.

The EU-ASEAN HPC Initiative focuses on human skill capital development and mobility of researchers/scientists between ASEAN and EU research infrastructures. Coming up, E-READI is working with the ASEAN HPC Task Force to organise a school on HPC systems and applications in 2021 in one of the ASEAN countries. The school will focus on systems and programming techniques and on applications, including a track on COVID19.

The first EU-ASEAN webinar dedicated to High-Performance Computing (HPC) COVID19-related modeling and diagnostic took place on 10 July 2020. As a collaborative initiative among the ASEAN-HPC Task Force, the ASEAN Committee for Science Technology and Innovation (COSTI), the ASEAN Secretariat Science & Technology Division (ASEC S&T), and the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI), the webinar brought together speakers and representatives from the European Union (EU) and ASEAN Member States (AMS) scientific organizations and academia.

The European Commission has historically been at the forefront of supporting research and innovation, a role which was reinforced in its efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. At the outset of COVID19 pandemic outbreak it announced support to 18 EU-funded research projects through Horizon 2020 as part of its emergency call for urgently needed research and innovation into the coronavirus.

Today’s webinar served as an exchange platform to ASEAN and EU-HPC related scientists, projects and research infrastructures, interested in the establishment of collaborations on COVID19 research. Working as Team Europe, the EU and EU MS HPC-COVID19 related research initiatives and their prospects for international collaboration and networking, were presented by: BioExcel (link is external) a European Center of Excellence for computational biomolecular research, supported by EU Horizon2020; and PRACE (link is external) the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, a not-for-profit association with 26 member countries whose representative organisations have created a pan-European supercomputing infrastructure providing a world-class HPC service for scientists and researchers from academia and industry.

Discussions and presentations from the EU and ASEAN speakers evolved around how HPC activities could support COVID19 research and highlighted the importance of strengthening region-to-region collaboration in research and innovation in the fight against COVID19. This matchmaking webinar further emphasized the importance of exchanging and sharing information, data and findings of COVID19 HPC projects and the potential global impact of the EU-ASEAN cooperation partnership.

The initiative is supported by the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI), a development cooperation program that facilitates cooperation and dialogue between the EU and ASEAN in policy areas of joint interest.

 

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The ASEAN Member States are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta.

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member States including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI) is a development cooperation program that facilitates cooperation and dialogue between the EU and ASEAN in policy areas of joint interest. Drawing on the EU’s experience of regional integration, the E-READI policy dialogue facility further strengthens both the ASEAN regional integration process as well as the overall ASEAN-EU partnership.