Pakistan Supercomputing Site Among World's Top 200

NUST's new 132 Teraflop supercomputer has catapulted the Pakistani university's supercomputing center to the elite Top 200 list of supercomputing sites in the world, a list dominated by a handful of industrialized nations. National University of Science & Technology's supercomputer is named ScREC after its supercomputing research and education center. The cluster consists of 66 nodes equipped with a total of 30,992 cores. The NUST site breaks down the components as follows: 32 dual-socket quad-core nodes, 32 NVIDIA GPUs, a QDR InfiniBand interconnect, and 26.1 TB of storage.



ScREC will be be deployed for research in the areas of computational biology, fluid dynamics, image processing, cryptography, medical imaging, geosciences, finance, and climate modeling. Specifically, RCMS is currently developing a direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method for subsonic nanoscale gas flows. Other projects include external flow analysis of heavy vehicles to reduce fuel consumption, and numerical investigation on performance and stability of axial compressors used in aircraft engines and gas turbines.

In his recent book Turing's Cathedral, computer historian George Dyson explores how the digital universe has exploded in the aftermath of World War II. The proliferation of both codes and machines has paralleled two historic developments: the decoding of self-replicating sequences in biology and the development of the hydrogen bomb, with the most destructive and the most constructive of human endeavors occurring at the same time.

In the decades after World War II, computers have become an absolutely essential tool for research in a variety of fields ranging from weapons to weather and life sciences.

In particular, the distinction between computing and biology has begun to blur in a way that will have enormous benefits for human health, productivity and longevity. Pakistan is among a handful of nations where there is significant research underway in genomics and biotechnology which requires substantial computing power.

Researchers at the Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) in Karachi collaborated with Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) to complete gene mapping of Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman, according to SciDev. Dr. Rehman, President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences, volunteered himself for the project.

Pakistan has significant research efforts in seed and livestock development at various agriculture universities, institutes and departments. Pakistani researchers and scientists are currently collaborating in life sciences with their counterparts in the US and China. A number of crops like cotton, rice, wheat, corn, potato, ground nut are being developed locally or with the collaboration of Chinese and US seed companies.

Currently, there are over two hundred life sciences departments which are engaged in genomics and biotechnology research at various Pakistani universities, and they all can benefit from access to modern high-speed supercomputing.

Pakistan has been a Science Watch rising star for several years for research papers in multiple fields, particularly in biological sciences. Publications by Pakistani research teams have increased four-folds in the last decade, and the majority of publications from major universities are in life sciences.

Let's hope that there will be many more high-speed supercomputing sites established at various universities and research institutes to meet the growing demand for computing power by Pakistani researchers.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's a APP report on use of genomics in medicine in Pakistan:

Karachi—Medical scientists and researchers stressed the importance of Human Genetics as a subject of vital importance for the progress and betterment of mankind at a three day workshop on Bioinformatics jointly organized by SIUT and COMSTECH.

Clinicians and young researchers, from different parts of the country and from Islamic world, working in the field of life sciences were introduced to the use of internet resources to analyze the vast amount of genetic data being produced by laboratories worldwide during the program that concluded at Sindh Instittue of Urology and Transplant (SIUT) on Saturday.

Hands on training was provided to them as how to use web based bioinformatics tools and resources in order to analyze the enormous amount of genetic data produced through DNA sequences.

Dr. Qasim Ayub and Luca Pagani, globally known for their contributions to the genetic analyses on human populations at the famous Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, supervised the deliberations of the workshop.

Characterizing genetic modifications that have enabled modern humans to adapt to their changing environment like those whose ancestors moved out of Africa, greatly help in understanding of the origin and migrations of human populations.

This is of particular relevance for Pakistan because it has been at the cross roads of human migrations for thousands of years, said the experts conducting the workshop.

Dr Qasim Mehdi from SIUT, a leading scientist in the field and the main coordinator of the workshop said that this was an opportune time for conducting such a workshop as thousands of human genomes, including hundreds of Pakistani individuals, are being completely sequenced by an international team of collaborators involved in the ‘1000 Genomes Project’ at the Sanger Institute.

“The ongoing genetic revolution is poised to improve the traditional medical practice,” he said. The paradigm is changing from ‘diagnose and treat’ to ‘predict and prevent’ he commented.

Speakers on the occasion were of unanimous opinion that the development will bring immense benefit to mankind and will enable treatments tailored to the individual and improve our understanding of previously untreatable diseases such as kidney disorders, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.


http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=146881
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a News report on US assistance for higher education & research in Pakistan:

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dr. Javaid Laghari, Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to create three Centers for Advanced Studies at Pakistani universities.



With US support, these centers will promote the development of Pakistan's water, energy, and agriculture sectors through applied research, training for specialists, university linkages, and the contributions towards policy formulation, said in a press statement issued by US Embassy here on Friday.



"US-Pakistan cooperation in higher education spans more than six decades. This new program presents a new milestone in our joint efforts to strengthen Pakistan's university system to support the growth of the country's economy," said Dr. Rajiv Shah at the signing ceremony.



The Centers for Advanced Studies is a five-year $127 million program sponsored by USAID. The Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security will be established with US support at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Punjab.



The Center for Advanced Studies in Water will be created at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro. Meanwhile, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad will open the Center for Advanced Studies in Energy.



A satellite center for energy will be established at the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar.



A key component of the Center for Advanced Studies Program is linking Pakistani universities to universities in the United States.



These linkages will help engender, support, and fund joint applied research, student and faculty exchanges, pedagogical improvement, and development of new courses according to the needs of industry. It is expected that other universities will use these centers as a model for future growth and improvements.



The signing ceremony for the launch of the Centers for Advanced Studies Program was attended by the Vice Chancellors from the four participating universities, representatives from the Higher Education Commission, members of the Ministry of Science and Technology, other officials, and students.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-44233-USAID,-HEC-sign-MoU-for-advanced-studies
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Daily Times report on ecology workshop in Islamabad:

Five-day International Training Workshop on ‘Modern Research Techniques in Ecology’ will start here from Monday (tomorrow).

Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH), Pakistan Science Foundation in collaboration with Department of Animal Sciences, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad and Snow Leopard Foundation, Pakistan has organised this workshop to build capacity of the participants in designing ecological studies and analysis of simple to complex ecological data and develop different statistical models.

The workshop will provide hands on training on modern data collection techniques and develop expertise in data analysis using statistical software ‘R-Programme’ which is widely used by ecologists. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to researchers to interact with the foreign scientists and benefit from their vast experience in wildlife conservation practices.

Resource persons of the workshop include Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway’s Dr Richard Bischof, Snow Leopard Trust, USA, Science and Conservation Director Dr Charudutt Mishra, University of Siena, Italy’s Prof Sandro Lovari, Snow Leopard Programs, Panthera, USA Executive Director Dr Tom McCarthy, Oryx-The International Journal of Conservation, Fauna and Flora International, Cambridge, UK Editor Dr Martin Fisher, QAU Department of Animal Sciences Dr Muhammad Ali Nawaz and PMNH Zoological Sciences Division Director Dr Muhammad Rafiq.

Ecological research in Pakistan remained an ignored field. During last couple of decades, life sciences departments of universities have predominantly focused on research in the fields like microbiology, molecular biology, genetics and physiology. The disciplines of ecology and taxonomy were considered old fashioned and least important. However, the situation is now being realised by the academia and research and conservation organisations, and many of them have a desire to develop capacities in ecological research. As limited expertise in this field is available in the country, international collaboration and involvement of researchers from the technologically advanced countries is very much required which can help in capacity building for research-based conservation.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\15\story_15-4-2012_pg5_10
Riaz Haq said…
Here are excerpts of a Nature magazine article on higher education support in Musharraf years:

Despite the problems, science has been flourishing in Karachi and other Pakistani cities, thanks to an unprecedented investment in the country's higher-education system between 2002 and 2008 (see 'Rollercoaster budget'). As funding increased more than fivefold in that time, new institutes focusing on proteomics and agricultural research sprouted, and the University of Karachi's natural sciences department rose from nowhere to 223 in the 2009 QS World University Rankings.
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The surge in higher-education investment occurred after the rise to power of General Pervez Musharraf in 1999, who as leader of the army had led a low-key coup d'├ętat and installed himself as de facto president. Musharraf was a liberal progressive who hoped to modernize Pakistan. "It was a moment in Pakistani history that now seems so distant," says Adil Najam, an expert in international development at Boston University in Massachusetts.

With the economy booming in the early 2000s, Pakistani academics sensed an opportunity. Higher education had never had much popular support in the country, where literacy hovers at about 50%, but in Musharraf they saw a champion. In a series of reports, Najam and others made the case that if the nation could mobilize its universities, it could transform from a poor agricultural state into a knowledge economy (see Nature 461, 38–39; 2009). The group called for a new Higher Education Commission (HEC) to manage the investment, as well as better wages for professors, more grants for PhD students and a boost in research funding.
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Rahman, a chemist at the University of Karachi and, at the time, the minister for science and technology, enthusiastically set out to overhaul the nation's universities. With Musharraf's support, annual research funding shot up 474% to 270 million rupees (US$4.5 million in 2002) in the first year alone. The HEC set aside money for PhD students and created a tenure-track system that would give qualified professors a monthly salary of around US$1,000–4,000 — excellent pay by Pakistani standards.

Rahman's strong scientific background, enthusiasm for reform and impressive ability to secure cash made him a hit at home and abroad. "It really was an anomaly that we had a person of that stature with that kind of backing," says Naveed Naqvi, a senior education economist at the World Bank, based in Islamabad. "Atta-ur-Rahman was a force of nature."
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Between 2003 and 2009, Pakistan churned out about 3,000 PhDs, roughly the same number awarded throughout its previous 55-year history. More than 7,000 PhD students are now in training at home and abroad. Meanwhile, scientific research publications have soared from roughly 800 in 2002 to more than 4,000 in 2009 (see 'Publishing power')...


http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100922/full/467378a.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Daily Times on US-Pak cooperation in human capital development:

* Grant to help researchers turn their research into commercially viable projects with private sector partners

* Symposium on ‘Economic Growth through Technology Transfer’ kicks off

ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador Richard Olson has announced new funding for Pakistani researchers during the first Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme Symposium on “Economic Growth through Technology Transfer”, which started at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) on Thursday.

The two-day symposium is being jointly organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), US Department of State, US Agency for International Development and US National Academy of Sciences. The main objective of this academic activity was to introduce concepts of technology transfer and foster new interactions between research projects and the private sector, enhancing translation of research across these domains.

The participants included principal investigators, private sector, government representatives and universities. Delivering the keynote address, Ambassador Olson said that international science and technology cooperation is essential in addressing global challenges. Examples of research cooperation that can improve lives include more efficient water treatment to conserve and reuse wastewater; systems that rapidly detect deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis; and solar water-heating systems for remote, rural areas, he said.

Ambassador Olson explained several other ways that the United States promotes scientific cooperation with Pakistan. He also announced new funding for Pakistani researchers to turn their research into commercially viable projects with private sector partners. This year’s Pakistan-US Science and Technology Symposium mark the 10-year anniversary of the Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement and highlights a new focus on economic growth through scientific cooperation.

The two-day symposium brings together American and Pakistani researchers, universities, research institutions, government officials, and entrepreneurs to help build partnerships between researchers and private sector. The sessions include hands-on workshops on establishing private sector partnerships, intellectual property, and how to “sell” a business idea to potential investors. Earlier in the inauguration session, HEC Member Dr Nasser Ali Khan informed that over the last decade, the United States and Pakistan have jointly contributed $38 million to fund 73 Pakistani-US scientist-led research projects among 40 different institutes and universities in both countries. He also shed light over the decade-long achievements of higher education sector.

The Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme will sponsor two competitive seed grant programmes in 2013: “Innovate! and Collaborate”. Under these programmes, researchers can apply for seed grants of up to $15,000 starting in summer 2013. Application details will be available in summer 2013. HEC chairperson Dr Javaid R Laghari, Ministry of Science and Technology Secretary Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, National University of Science and Technology Islamabad Rector Engr Muhammad Asghar and University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan were also present on the occasion.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\02\01\story_1-2-2013_pg11_1
Riaz Haq said…
#China to build $1.5 billion science park in #Islamabad #Pakistan http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/25-Nov-2015/china-to-invest-1-5bn-for-pakistan-china-science-park …

China on Wednesday agreed to invest $1.5 billion to set up Pakistan-China Science Park in Islamabad.

Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanvir Hussain - who is on a visit to China - signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with his Chinese counterpart UN Urmaqi. He also invited the Chinese investers to visit Islamabad in next month to select location for construction of the Park by March 2016. He expressed his gratitude for huge investment in Pakistan.

The minister said that Pakistan and China had a lot to share with each other in term of technology, expertise and business. “We are looking to strengthen our mutual ties on economic as well as technological fronts,” he said, adding that this project would prove to be a link of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It would bring prosperity to the people of both sides.

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