Spotlight: Dr. Akkarit Sangpetch, Program Director, on APEX as the next generation of HPC and AI Infrastructure needed for Thailand’s advancement in technology

October 23, 2021
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Dr. Akkarit Sangpetch, Program Director of CMKL University, envisions Thailand as a top-tier technology hub with a vibrant startup and partnership ecosystem, encouraging his students at CMKL to 'find meaningful issues to solve using AI and digital tech to improve society, ranging from education, entertainment to agriculture.'  Dr. Akkarit has made important achievements in this area, including the establishment of KMITL's first international program, Computer Innovation Engineering in 2016. Since then, the growing academic collaboration between KMITL and CMU resulted in the formation of the Carnegie Mellon-KMITL program and CMKL University.


Dr. Akkarit is currently serving as an advisor in supporting the development of CMKL's APEX Supercomputer Cluster and Goliath Platform, 'one of the most technologically advanced systems in the region during the time of its deployment,' he states. Dr. Akkarit explains that 'while the rest of the world enjoys growing usage of HPC and Cloud Infrastructure,’ Thailand lacks a first-tier major service provider, an infrastructure needed to support and compete in this field as AI technology advances. From CMKL University's former smart city R&D experience, research teams often only have two choices: expensive off-shore cloud services or aging technology of existing local providers - this is where APEX comes in. 

 

'Deploying APEX gives our teams and students access to best-in-class technology and required tools to support AI research, including RDMA, SDN, GPU acceleration, container management, advanced resource scheduling & parallel file systems,' Dr. Akkarit said. The result of this project is an open hybrid HPC-AI-Cloud system that serves as both an experimental ground for HPC/Cloud computing system research and a resource for AI and machine learning researchers to gather and analyze large-scale data needed to build AI models. For example, the CiRA team at KMITL deployed a COVID Variant Identifier using CiRA's medical cloud on APEX infrastructure, aiding in Thailand’s fight against COVID.

 

Suppose you're considering joining the AI game now. In that case, Dr. Akkarit tells us that 'Thailand recently established a national AI development plan,' which indicates that the field will be in high demand moving forward. CMKL University offers degrees that allow students to excel and get the most out of their higher education experience while practically aligning with industry demands. 


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