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Finland's new supercomputers and data management environment have a large impact

12/17/2021 8:45 AM

The supercomputers Mahti and Puhti and the data management system Allas have been supporting research in universities and research institutes for a few years now. The environment was purchased under the Ministry of Education and Culture's Data Management and Computing Development Programme (DL2021). The final webinar of the programme on 13 December  examined the impacts of both the programme itself and the supercomputers purchased. 

The final webinar presented the achievements of the project from the perspectives of companies, research institutes, universities and universities of applied sciences. Topics included artificial intelligence, climate system modelling, research for sustainable development and the newest member of the computational science family, digital humanities. In the webinar we also launched an open online course on supercomputing, the Elements of Supercomputing. The course introduces the basics of high performance computing and supercomputers in a way that anyone interested can understand.

The aim of the development programme has been to develop the national computing infrastructure and its multifaceted impact, as well as to strengthen the wide range of skills. 

– The infrastructure at the national level must be linked to the local level, because this will create shared ownership and the will to do things in a new way, said Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture, in her opening remarks. She also stressed the importance of the development programme in addressing the new types of service needs of the research community.
The DL2021 programme has also enabled research institutions to join academics in using HPC and business use has been piloted for the future EuroHPC LUMI supercomputer. 

– Scientists have been using the new supercomputers effectively and successfully. Annual growth in the number of users has been in the order of 10% and computing is used in almost every scientific discipline. Computational research has a high societal impact. For example, the COVID-19 fast track we opened in summer 2020 provided a lot of additional information on the virus and its spread, and glacier modellers have provided high-level input to the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report. Artificial intelligence has been used to identify cancer cells and develop language technology, said Pekka Lehtovuori, Director of Research Services at CSC.

Elements of Supercomputing open online course 

The open online course Elements of Supercomputing, created by CSC and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, is an introduction to supercomputers, their importance and use. The course is open to all and can be browsed or taken freely without any commitment or right to study at a higher education institute (register as guest). Participants who complete the course assignments and have registered as students will also be awarded a ECTS credit.

The course is specifically designed to attract high school students to the field and to introduce those working in RDI in companies to the benefits of high performance computing. 

– Together with CSC, we want to offer the opportunity to learn and understand what supercomputers are for everyone interested. In the future, more and more people will be working with artificial intelligence and supercomputing solutions are already part of our everyday lives. We hope that this course will spark interest and enthusiasm to understand and learn new things, said Rector Matti Sarén from Kajaani University of Applied Sciences.

The Elements of Supercomputing course 

The final webinar is part of the Year of Investigated Knowledge and also celebrates the 50-year journey of the CSC in support of research.

More information about the Elements of Supercomputing course:
Matti Sarén
tel. 044 7101 600 
e-mail matti.saren at kamk.fi