On Thursday, September 10, 2020, the National High Performance Computing Competence Centre of The Cyprus Institute was inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Mr. Kyriakos Kokkinos. The inauguration ceremony was held at the premises of The Cyprus Institute at its Athalassa campus. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, guests that physically attended the ceremony were limited to select state and civic officials, ambassadors, members of the Board of Trustees and key figures of The Cyprus Institute, distinguished personalities from the scientific community and business world, and users of the high performance computing infrastructure. For the wider public, the event was available via live-streaming and is accessible via The Cyprus Institute’s YouTube channel.
The High Performance Computing Competence Centre of Cyprus is being developed by The Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre (CaSToRC) of The Cyprus Institute, within the European EuroCC project. The EuroCC project is a network of National Competence Centres (NCCs) co-funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, and the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy and the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus.
The National Competence Centre (NCC) is envisioned to act as the focal point, facilitating access of national stakeholders to HPC infrastructure, and providing training and skills development. In close collaboration with the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy and the Research and Innovation Foundation, it will promote the digital transformation of Cyprus across academia, industry and the public sector. The establishment of a well-functioning NCC is envisioned to act as a catalyst towards a wider adoption of advanced computing and data science technologies, elevating the national productivity and competitiveness of academia, research and government to European standards of excellence.
In his welcoming address, the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Mr. Kyriakos Kokkinos noted that this pioneering project will provide the tools and competences to enable researchers for the whole Cyprus to utilize advance computing facilities. “This is a national asset. It’s for all researchers and public sector to bring new solutions to the complex scientific and social challenges of today. HPC is at the core of major advances and innovation in today’s digital reality. It’s a strategic resource for Europe’s future. The National Competence Center is expected to act as a catalyst for boosting scientific, industrial research and innovation activity in our country and a key tool fostering international collaborations, attracting additional funding and investment and further enchasing our intellectual capital in the field. Cyprus has the opportunity not only to boost leading research discoveries and breakthroughs, but also to place itself among the frontrunners in leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence and Big Data”.
The President of The Cyprus Institute Prof. George Christophides, in his opening remarks stated that “we feel pride and grateful to the Cyprus government, in particular to the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy for choosing and entrusting The Cyprus Institute and CaSToRC to host and lead these efforts”.
In her address, the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology at European Commission, Evangelia Markidou stressed that for an HPC National Competence Center the challenge is for each country to identify its national needs and to set-up and operate the Center. Additionally, the HPC National Competence Center will need to develop the necessary expertise and applications know-how relevant to the user communities of the country, as well as to implement a flexible and modular approach in the services to be provided, taking into consideration the degree of maturity of the users.
Additionally, the Director of the Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre (CaSToRC) of The Cyprus Institute, Prof. Constantia Alexandrou stated “I would like to thank the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy and also the Research Innovation Foundation for their support that enable our participation in this initiative. The Cyprus Institute look forward to work with the user communities for the implementation of the objectives of the National HPC Competence Center and EuroCC and make this initiative a success”.
The Director of Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Lippert noted that “I fully trust that what you do in Cyprus will be a huge success. I have followed the development of The Cyprus Institute and CaSToRC for long time and I am confident that your National HPC Competence Center will be a success and will contribute to the Europe in general”.
Finally, Brendan McGinty from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign congratulated CaSToRC and The Cyprus Institute for the wonderful event and occasion. He stressed that the central element is about the talent and the compute will be realised. He added that “an HPC Competence Center has to be consultative, provide custom solutions and to leverage resources. There is enough opportunity to go around”.