APAC HPC-AI Competition Expands to Address COVID-19

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The HPC-AI Advisory Council and the National Supercomputing Centre in Singapore announced today that they have joined the global fight against COVID-19 by expanding the 2020 APAC HPC-AI competition to address education and applied learning towards accelerating bioscience research and discovery.

As part of the updated competition, student teams are now tasked to research, find and choose an HPC or AI application that can potentially be used as part of the global fight against COVID-19. Teams must demonstrate testing and benchmarking of the application, as well as explain how this application can best be accelerated. In addition, teams will also be required to focus on tuning and accelerating NAMD, a molecular dynamics code designed for high-performance simulation of large biomolecular systems. The NAMD application is being used at various supercomputing sites to run massive simulations of COVID-19 to aid researchers design new drugs and vaccines to combat the virus.

Computer models of viruses and viral protein structures, especially for high resolution analysis, is very computationally intensive. Molecular docking experiments in silico, to screen for potentially effective drugs that block viral functions, and molecular-modeling applications, such as GROMACS and NAMD, must be optimized and benchmarked for simulations to run as efficiently as possible. By training our young aspiring programmers using real-world scenarios such as COVID-19, we can better prepare them to provide solutions to future global issues from pandemics to climate change. More than that, we hope that this will give our youth a better appreciation for the significant role that HPC and AI can play, and how they can use the skills learned in this competition to contribute more meaningfully to society,” said Professor Tan Tin Wee, Chief Executive, National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore.

The APAC HPC-AI competition promotes the latest HPC and AI technologies to the universities and research centers and trains the students with the latest HPC and AI technologies to help bridge the gap between universities/research institutes and industries. The competition also trains the undergraduate and graduate students to practice on the newest HPC and AI platforms, and provides the key ingredients and industry tools to optimize the production applications. Open for registration until May 17, the 3rd Annual 2020 APAC HPC-AI competition expects to host multiple teams from across the APAC region.

While not ignoring commercial and scientific applications, it has become importantly clear that we must put further emphasis on tuning and optimizing applications in the medical and bioscience field. By expanding the competition’s charter to address applications specifically used for groundbreaking COVID-19 simulations, the HPC-AI Advisory Council and NSCC are taking the action to educate and train the next generation of HPC scientists and programmers that may aid the world in viral outbreaks or pandemics in the future,” said Gilad Shainer, Chairman of the HPC-AI Advisory Council.

Co-organized by the HPC-AI Advisory Council and NSCC, the competition is sponsored by Mellanox, NVIDIA, AMD and WekaIO with additional support from the Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network (SingAREN).

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