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RoNCC Trainings - An Overview

As the first phase of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) is reaching its end, this article offers a concise overview of the six trainings successfully organized and conducted by RoNCC, also presenting their main outcomes.

The first training event was organized on 12 October 2021 and it included three sessions: a common one and two more sessions that separately targeted public institutions and SMEs, according to their specific needs. The main aim of this event was to create common ground for understanding the concept of HPC, acquainting the audience with the variety of HPC benefits for both kinds of entities, applied to their specific activity domains and areas of interest. The training was carried out in partnership with NVIDIA.

A second training was organized by RoNCC on 15 December 2021, together with NCC Netherlands, NCC Cyprus and NCC Montenegro. The training was dedicated both to organizations interested in the HPC field and to students eager to learn relevant information about the benefits of this technology. Besides its theoretical part, the training also included hands-on exercises that allowed the participant to apply and test their HPC knowledge. The general aim was to increase the HPC skills in Romania and encourage and develop ideas and partnerships in this field.

The third training, which took place on 2 February 2021, was highly specialized as it was dedicated to the various uses of HPC in the Health sector, a subject of great interest considering the pandemic affecting a large segment of the population at that time. The participants were representatives of national institutes from the medical and pharmaceutical fields, as well as academia.

Another targeted training organized by RoNCC on 16 April 2022 addressed HPC in Agriculture, with participants mainly coming from the academia and institutional sectors related to this field. The event aimed to disseminate to the 112 participants the benefits of using HPC, HPDA, and AI technologies in the agriculture sector and explore the multiple development possibilities of adopting HPC in innovation activities and projects by sharing use cases and best practices.

On 26 May 2022, another training session was prepared by RoNCC for private companies with the aim of better understanding the existent HPC-related services and capabilities as well as the needs in this area, discussing potential solutions and upcoming financing options available for these companies in relation to HPC. Part of the event consisted of hands-on exercises in the supercomputing systems.

The last training event, entitled "HPC in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning," was organized by EuroCC Romania in partnership with NCC Netherlands on 16 November 2022. It included a theoretical part as well as applied exercises. Some of the approached topics were related to supercomputing, the basic use of a supercomputer, machine learning topics, and convolutional neural networks. two sessions of hands-on exercises using both a supercomputer and PyTorch.

The general results of the training events carried out by RoNCC and its partners include a thorough scanning of the HPC-related needs of academic users with large scale allocations, an accurate view of the current industrial usage (SMEs and start-ups) of HPC and their future HPC and Artificial Intelligence (AI) needs and of the further needs for training and support to enable a wide range of Romanian users to use the new hardware deployed in pre-exascale systems.

After each training, forms were sent out to each of the participants, revealing important statistics regarding the HPC status and needs in Romania: 39.3% of the respondents affirmed that they are not familiar with HPC and 75% of them were not aware of the available HPC infrastructure at national/European level. There is a majority of 93% interested in upgrading their IT infrastructure and 60% who have access to on-premise HPC related infrastructure. The main conclusion is that although there are a lot of gaps in HPC awareness at a national level, there is a consistent affirmed intention to become informed and receive updates about initiatives and funding opportunities regarding HPC. The more awareness grows through events such as these training sessions organized by RoNCC, the more expertise will be consolidated at a national level and needs will be addressed.

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