The National Competence Centre for HPC celebrates two years of existence in the Czech Republic. During this time, it has helped many companies and public institutions by providing access to supercomputers, technology consulting, and free educational activities. It intends to build on its earlier achievements in the next three-year period of its operation.
Leveraging the power of high-performance computing can be a potent avenue for future growth for many companies and institutions, Recent years have proven very challenging, with companies having to deal with fundamental problems that include profound societal changes, the coronavirus pandemic and its related restrictions, the dramatic increase in the prices of materials and energy, and changes in customer-supplier relationships. Many companies are dealing both with the need to innovate production processes and the creation of the products themselves, and the financial complexity of the implementation itself; a secondary difficulty is the lack of qualified human resources. National HPC Competence Centres funded by the EuroHPC joint European venture, more than thirty of which have sprung up in Europe over the past two years, can be of considerable value in this context.
In the Czech Republic, the role of the National Competence Centre for HPC (NCC) is played by the IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava. “Our goal is primarily to offer a wide portfolio of services in the field of HPC, as well as to promote cooperation at a pan-European level, to strengthen Czech companies’ technological independence and competitiveness,” explained Tomáš Karásek, who manages the NCC in the Czech Republic. In practice, adopting high-performance computing can result in financial and time savings for many companies and institutions when tackling specific tasks. “Every year, we prepare more than a dozen courses that we offer free of charge to interested companies, public institutions, and academia” added Tomáš Karásek.
In addition to consulting services, designing and implementing pilot HPC solutions, and migrating existing ones, end users can use services that include information sharing and, last but not least, the possibility of professional training.
The fact that there is much to build on from the previous period is demonstrated by several use cases implemented by the Czech National Competence Centre for HPC. These include cooperation with the Police of the Czech Republic (development of a tool for more effective crime fighting), processing of medical images as a service for University Hospital Ostrava, launching a vaccination centre in Ostrava, processing and storage of data for the European Space Agency, and many other projects for industrial companies and public institutions.