Harnessing power of Blue Gene/P supercomputer to build models for real-world systems
Bandar Seri Begawan - In a bid to help Brunei Darussalam generate various real-world systems such as local climate and weather projects that could be beneficial in enhancing crop productivity and smarter energy modelling to benefit national renewable energy agendas, the UBD-IBM Centre hopes to harness its Blue Gene/P supercomputer, the first in Asean, to achieve such goals.
Since its establishment two years ago, the UBD-IBM Centre was involved in projects covering weather including high spatial temporal climate and weather modelling, hydrology modelling for predicting flood, wind-energy modelling on the amount of power derived from the wind and crop production modelling.
The next phase of projects will be focused on renewable energy such as electric energy conservation in the development of green homes and for Smarter. Grids, among others.
The centre also anticipates working closer with agencies in the country including the Energy Department (EDPMO) at the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) in creating a modelling system to benefit top national agendas like renewable energy.
In an interview with the Weekend Bulletin, Dr Gopinath Ramesh, Director of the IBM Research in India who also works at the UBD-IBM Centre, disclosed that they are currently working on very rich agendas in terms of technical innovation and ways to bring these technical innovations into the market (real-world).
Ramesh, a top researcher at IBM and well-known in India, said that although the UBD-IBM Centre was just recently established, it is progressing very dynamically in terms of research works that will undoubtedly benefit not only UBD and IBM's worldwide research efforts but also the country.
He highlighted the centre covers a variety of areas but the focus from a technical perspective is on leveraging high-performance computing to build models for real-world systems such as weather, crop modelling and renewable energy.
"We are building these models and trying to validate them through real-world implementation. Over the last two years, we built a weather forecasting model to provide easy access to weather prediction for the next 24 hours.
"The research was jointly conducted by UBD faculty members, students and research fellows alongside researchers from IBM research labs worldwide," he emphasised. When asked how such initiatives will benefit UBD and Brunei as a whole, he said, "It will be beneficial in the technical innovation aspect, which will then be translated into real-world implementation in Brunei.
"All works designed by the UBD-IBM Centre will be encapsulated or imbedded into or measured as patents, research journals and papers. This will certainly benefit IBM research efforts worldwide, but will also largely benefit UBD and Brunei.
"The centre is also trying to work with entities (agencies) as partners within Brunei to find ways to actually bring the research to the next level and validate them in real-world whilst obtaining feedback."
He provided a valid example in utilising a sophisticated weather modelling system for UBD in enhancing crop productivity. To make this possible, the UBD-IBM Centre needs to engage with officials at the MIPR to make the system feasible for Brunei.
The modeling system can also be deployed to other countries within the vicinity, or Asean.
Through the UBD-IBM Centre, Brunei has embarked on an ambitious long-term journey towards Vision 2035 to spur a knowledge-based nation in economic development. UBD, as the national university, is the pioneer in instilling such knowledge whilst transforming the workforce to make an impact in world-class research with international visibility, driving both national and social development.
The centre, inaugurated by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on October 15, 2011, is serving as a catalyst in this transformation. Due to the outstanding work of the faculty, students, staff and IBM collaborators, it is now a national asset for modelling in the nation working with ministries such as EDPMO, MIPR, Ministry of Development, BEDB, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Communications, and Ministry of Home Affairs.
The objective is to utilise world-class research capabilities of the IBM Research team in partnership with researchers at UBD including stakeholders in developing cutting-edge technologies and perform in-market experiments to validate these technologies in Brunei.
The research vision of the centre focuses on high-performance modelling and analytics, applied to nationally important modelling topics such as weather and climate (foundational high-resolution and regional models for Brunei), smarter energy (renewable energy modeling, energy efficiency and conservation) and applications areas such as flood forecasting and agricultural crop modelling. Broadly this represents a "Smarter Planet" research at the intersection of Information Technology (IT) and important physical systems involving energy, water and food.
To support this research, a Blue Gene/P supercomputer has been installed at UBD and is actively used by researchers. Their works have resulted in multiple top-quality publications and Intellectual Property involving UBD staff and students.
Brunei is the first nation in the world to have a research-basis, high-resolution and integrated multi-purpose models on a national scale. It is exciting as the output of selected supercomputer models is available at everyone's fingertips via iPad, iPhone and the Internet. Brunei is also the first country in the world to install an experimental micro-scale smart-grid deep in the rainforests at the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre (KBFSC) of UBD in Temburong.
The centre is actively looking to engage more Bruneians and locals- at various levels in this exciting world-class research and help the university and ministries to utilise the HPC capability for other applications. Researchers and students will continue to collaborate and develop its portfolio in "Smarter Planet" systems at the inter-disciplinary intersection of IT and large-scale physical systems important to Brunei and beyond in the Asean region.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin