Qatar research community prepares for supercomputing

May 01, 2014 - 4:46:20 am

Doha: Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) yesterday gathered experts at the inaugural National Computing Infrastructure for Research (NCIR) User Forum in Doha, to discuss the importance of high-performance computing in research activities across Qatar. The forum, attended by more than 130 experts, shed light on how computing remains an essential component of modern-day research.

“Supercomputing is no longer a luxury technology for selective applications as the increased computation will enable researchers to apply much more sophisticated and precise techniques for the advancement of science,” said Dr Mohammad Khaleel, Executive Director of NCIR and the Qatar Energy and Environment Institute. Administered by QF R&D, NCIR is designed as a single entity to provide integrated national-scale computing and data capabilities for universities, industries and researchers in Qatar.

Dr Thomas Zacharia, Executive Vice President for QF R&D was one of the speakers at the NCIR forum where Qatar’s research ambitions were expressed, identifying the infrastructural needs and research opportunities for high-performance computing in Qatar.

Attended by policy makers, senior researchers and computer scientists, the forum focused on how supercomputers, capable of more than 1,000 trillion calculations per second – ‘petaflops’ – can be used to help address some of Qatar’s most important scientific challenges.

“The NCIR is important for every institution in Qatar because it is an empowering technology with great benefits. The things we otherwise would not do because of limited computational power, supercomputing would open the door for us to do them,” said Dr Khaled Machaca, Associate Dean of Research at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. “As a platform especially the way the NCIR is being designed, as a service for stakeholders, it is very much an empowering technology. Therefore a supercomputer, or the availability of advanced computational power, would open doors for scientists that would otherwise be closed,” he added.

“A supercomputing facility here in Qatar would serve all those working in theresearch field, specifically at Qatar University where we have many projects underway in the fields of engineering, environmental science, computer science and cyber security,” said Dr Hassan Al Derham, Vice President of Research at Qatar University. “Therefore, having such a facility would benefit our researchers and advance the type of research they conduct and the results they would yield, enabling them to publish their findings in world renowned publications,” he said.

The Peninsula