In the face of the global pandemic, science, technology and innovation have become the new frontier of hope.

While discussions on increasing access to high-performance computing (HPC) for both EU and ASEAN scientists started in 2019, the urgent need to utilise HPC to find solutions to COVID-19-related challenges prompted the EU-ASEAN Regional Dialogue Instrument (E-READI) to organise the first inter-regional webinar on the topic.

Held on 10 July 2020, the webinar served as a platform for EU and ASEAN scientists to exchange experiences on using HPC modelling and diagnostics for COVID-19-related projects, and to promote networking and cooperation among research projects and donors.

As a follow-up action in 2021, the EU and ASEAN partnered with Japan to hold the inaugural EU-ASEAN-Japan Symposium at the SupercomputingAsia (SCA) conference. The symposium was held on 4 March 2021 under the theme ‘Supercomputing in the new norm – Adapting to COVID-19 and beyond’.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Igor Driesmans, Head of the EU Mission to ASEAN, highlighted the importance of continuous collaboration to further optimise the use of HPC in finding solutions to the challenges of our time. ‘We recognise its potential to stimulate further cooperation and synergies and thus, to contribute to knowledge-sharing.’

The symposium provided an opportunity for stakeholders from the ASEAN HPC working group as well as EU and Japanese research institutions to present updates on their joint HPC initiatives. Participants shared insights into the latest challenges and trends in HPC and data infrastructure, in addition to new research, talent and HPC skills development opportunities.

Following the EU-ASEAN Joint Ministerial Statement on Connectivity on 1 December 2020 which committed its support to an HPC online school, E-READI is also organising the first EU-ASEAN HPC summer school in 2021. The two-week virtual programme will be open to students interested in learning from EU and ASEAN experts on HPC and its applications.

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