Scientific computing is central to many fields and has provided insights where theory or experiment alone could not, for example in the projection of future climate changes, in the design of new materials for clean energy, and in the analysis of the large amounts of data produced in particle physics experiments and cosmological observations.
The purpose of the ICTP Consortium on Scientific Computing is to provide scientists from around the world with an integrated platform to exchange information, access resources, receive training, and contribute to the advancement of this rapidly evolving and expanding area of research. Thanks to its historical strength in the field of scientific computing and to its global scientific network, ICTP is ideally positioned to lead global efforts to enhance the impact of scientific computing in addressing the scientific challenges that are at the core of a sustainable future for the Earth.
The goals of the ICTP Consortium on Scientific Computing include the following:
Big Science: While the ultimate goal of the consortium is to be an enabler of research developments requiring scientific computing in any field of fundamental science and open to scientists from all over the world, a small set of major scientific challenges within the ICTP research fields are necessary to guide the development of the consortium towards that ambitious role. These challenges, all of which have a clear impact on sustainable development, include:
- the full integration of human societies in earth system models;
- the “in-silico” design of new materials that could pave the way to technological advancements in fields important for a sustainable energy infrastructure;
- molecular modeling and data analysis to unravel the molecular mechanisms of the action of drugs in complex, realistic environments;
- ultra-low power microcontroller on-device analytics of data collected by sensors, a rapidly expanding technology that holds the promise to revolutionize processes in agriculture, fishery, health, and other fields of direct impact for sustainable development.
Capacity building: The Consortium will strengthen ICTP’s efforts in training researchers and disseminating information in the field of scientific computing. The initial goal is to train 50 young scientists every year on each of the above scientific challenges through the organisation of advanced schools. In addition, the number of students enrolled in the post-graduate programs that ICTP runs jointly with SISSA and the University of Trieste (MHPC and DSSC MSc) will be increased. In parallel, ICTP teams will be encouraged to establish collaborations with teams in developing countries on problems of direct impact for their regions.
Computational facility: The consortium will host a large computational facility with the dual purpose of meeting the scientific challenges set by the consortium, and offering to the global community of computational scientists an open facility for their own projects. Scientific projects requiring computer time will be solicited from teams based in developing countries and will be selected based on scientific merit. Access to the facility will be complemented with targeted training and scientific support.