Geneva and Paris, 5 October – HP and UNESCO today announced the expansion of the ‘Brain Gain Initiative’ from five universities in the pilot phase to 15 additional higher education institutions throughout the Middle East and Africa.
The ‘Brain Gain Initiative’ enables these universities to collaborate with experts around the world in innovative education and research projects with the help of advanced grid and cloud computing technologies. The objective is to build capacity for sustainable development through advances in science and technology with a goal of reaching 100 universities by the end of 2011 with the help of additional partners.
The expansion of this project comes on the back of a successful pilot phase in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe from 2006 to 2009. UNESCO, together with HP, has worked with local ministries of education to select the 15 universities that will benefit from the expansion of the initiative in 2009:
• Ouagadougou University, Laboratoire d’analyse numérique, d’informatique et de biomathématique: Mathematical modelling & computer simulation of pollutants transfer mechanism in the drainage basin of river Sourou
• Ouagadougou University, Laboratoire de traitement de l’information et de la communication: Implementation of a high performance computing grid at Ouagadougou University
• Douala University: Strengthening local capacities for the study of climate change and consequences through distributed computing
• Yaoundé I University: Information system for risk management through remote detection (SIMART)
• Cocody University: Climate modelling and distributed computing (MOCCAD)
• Mekelle University: Distributed grid computing for climate change adaptation and biological modelling/simulation
• Masinde Muliro University: Computer supported collaborative e-waste management research towards developing a national e-waste management strategy
• University of Nairobi: Diasporas and distributed computing for development, towards creating a regional centre of excellence for distributed systems and modelling
• Kuwait University: Nanotechnology-based interconnection networks
• Saint-Joseph University: E-flora of Lebanon
• Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique (CNRST): Development & strengthening of the Moroccan computing grid « MaGrid»
• Gaston Berger University: Setting up a distributed socio-economic infrastructure for a knowledge-based development approach
• Université de la Manouba, Ecole Nationale des Sciences de l’Informatique (ENSI): e-infrastructure for academic cooperation and resources sharing in Africa and the Arab States region (ECUMA)
• Makerere University: Towards Fostering localized innovative ICT solutions
• Mbarara University: Training and implementation of e-learning
The Brain Gain Initiative will provide equipment, including servers for grid-enabling and cloud computing technologies, training and support, as well as operational funds to ensure each participating institution benefits fully from the opportunity.
“HP recognises the importance of technology in boosting economic growth and providing opportunities to connect with the information society in all walks of life,” said Gabriele Zedlmayer, HP EMEA Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Global Citizenship. “We look forward to building on our work with UNESCO and our expertise in grid and cloud computing to enable more people to play an active role in all kinds of education projects, wherever they are based.”
“UNESCO signed a strategic partnership agreement with HP in 2007. As HP’s education strategy is very much in line with our education priorities it is essential that we work together to help developing countries,” said Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic, Chief of the Section for Reform, Innovation and Quality Assurance at UNESCO. “The Brain Gain Initiative is the fruit of our successful collaboration and the fact that it is now expanding is something we are all extremely proud of.”
One university that has already benefited from the project is Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Senegal. The university received the support of a CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) expert who helped set up the computing grid, making it the first grid in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the grid is connected to the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) infrastructure, supported by the European Union. This makes it possible for all the grid users to access EGEE computing power and storage capacity. Thanks to the expertise acquired through this project, the UCAD grid will be extended to form a national network for Senegal.
Access to this computing power allows students to learn, interact, and engage in cutting edge university projects all over the world. It also enables students to work directly with leading researchers who can now conduct research from home.
“We have suffered in the past from our best talents leaving Senegal to further their careers elsewhere,” said Ibrahima Niang from UCAD. “This project helps us to plug into the world of research. We can build connections with colleagues in other countries, which benefit our own work, and this link also provides an opportunity for our own academics and researchers to further their careers from Senegal.”
More information about the ‘Brain Gain Initiative’ is available at: www.unesco.org/en/braingain
About Grid and Cloud Computing
Grid computing is a hardware and software infrastructure that clusters and integrates high-end computer networks, databases and scientific instruments from multiple sources to form a virtual environment in which users can work collaboratively. The grid concept was developed in the mid-1990s as a shared computing approach that coordinates decentralized resources and uses open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces to deliver high-quality service levels.
More about HP’s grid initiative: www.hp.com/go/grid
Cloud computing, on the other hand, is internet (‘cloud’)-based use of computer technology. It is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the internet. Users do not need any knowledge of, expertise in or control over the technology infrastructure in the ‘cloud’ that supports them.
UNESCO is the United Nations lead agency for education, science, culture and communication. It functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements in its fields of competences. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping its 193 Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. More about UNESCO: www.unesco.org
HP, the world’s largest technology company, simplifies the technology experience for consumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com/.