Thailand to buy $18 million U.S.-made supercomputer

Thailand will make a big investment in science and research with plans to purchase a nearly $18 million supercomputer, the most powerful in Southeast Asia, from Hewlett Packard of the U.S.

The supercomputer will use the Kingdom’s treasure trove of data for research and developing solutions in a range of fields, including medical research, natural disaster prevention, technology startups and other endeavors.

“The HPE Cray EX system delivers a comprehensive, end-to-end high-performance computing (HPC) solution that is transforming research with advanced approaches to modeling and simulation, and powers AI (artificial intelligence) initiatives that generate major insights and breakthroughs,” said Bill Mannel, Vice President at Hewlett Packard Enterprises.

Weather forecasting and natural disaster predictions and modelling are crucial for the Kingdom because of its agriculture and its location in Asia, where the majority of natural disasters occur. Thailand also focuses on supercomputing to help with its adoption of renewable energy. The Hewlett Packard machine will be used to work on problems in combustion efficiency, energy storage (batteries in particular) and solar power.

Another priority is advancing Thailand’s healthcare industry, including working on drug design and development for COVID-19 and other diseases.

An important indicator for countries transitioning to a higher level of development, innovation and competitiveness is the degree of resources they devote to research and development.

“The supercomputer will strengthen Thailand’s position in high-performance computing and research capabilities,” said Narong Sirilertworakul, President of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA).

The agency will host the said supercomputer in part to support science and research that underpin the transition to the Kingdom’s bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy. Thailand has made the BCG economy its north star in its pursuit of sustainable development.

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