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Amy Oo might have studied to become a doctor, ‘But once I graduated, I realised that I am not very enthusiastic about handling patients’, she said.

When Oo attended a conference about bioinformatics, a new world of technological tools and data sources to answer biological questions, such as medicine discovery and gene therapy, opened up, ‘I found this field very interesting and decided to work in this computational biology field instead’, Oo said.

Originally from Myanmar, Oo is currently finishing her thesis in biochemistry and molecular biology in Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She was also one of the students of the first EU-ASEAN High-Performance Computing (HPC) school.

High-Performance Computing refers to systems with extremely high computational power that can solve hugely complex and demanding problems much faster than normal machines. HPCs are one million times more powerful than the fastest laptop. Facilitated by the Enhanced EU-ASEAN Regional Dialogue Instrument (E-READI), the EU and ASEAN held the first ‘EU-ASEAN HPC Virtual School – System Design and HPC applications’ on 5-9 July 2021.

The virtual school brought together top international experts in the HPC field to share their expertise and knowledge with students from each one of the ASEAN Member States, including Oo. ‘The programme gave me advanced knowledge on HPC and how we can use it to get better results, faster’, Oo said of her experience.

‘The major aim of the school was to increase the skill and capability of top students and young scientists in ASEAN using the resources or luminary experts from Europe as well as from our partners and colleagues in Japan’, said Dr. Fabrizio Gagliardi, E-READI expert on HPC and Director of the HPC Virtual School.

According to Dr. Gagliardi, HPC application has become strategic in all fields: from disaster management to addressing COVID-19 related challenges. ‘The school provides students with a unique opportunity of not only learning about high performance computing but also providing them with access to HPCs’, Dr. Gagliardi added.

The EU and ASEAN will continue to develop a permanent but rotating HPC school in ASEAN, which will bring the HPC learning environment to each ASEAN Member State.

‘Applications of HPC are critical in the ASEAN Member States’, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community, Satvinder Singh said. ‘This virtual school has shown great support for scientific research development in ASEAN and highlighted the importance of strengthening region-to-region collaboration in research and innovation in the fight against COVID-19 and beyond’.

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