Seminar Summary

More than 40 researchers, practitioners, and students attended and participated in the Seminar on Academic Cloud Computing held in the School of Science and Technology at Nazarbayev University on November 20, 2013.

Presenting and in attendance were department heads, faculty, researchers, and students from three national universities, including Karaganda State Technical University, S. Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University, Nazarbayev University, and an invited guest speaker from the University of Kassel (Germany).

Also present at the seminar were representatives from governmental agencies and national and multinational companies, including EPAM Systems (USA, KZ), General Communications, Inc. (USA), Hewlett-Packard (US, KZ), JazzSoft (KZ), Kazakhstan Center of Geoinformation Systems, KazCosmos (Kazakhstan’s National Space Agency), KZ-CERT (National Computer Emergency Response Team, KZ), National Information Technologies (KZ), North Caspian Operating Company (KZ), and Samruk Kazyna (National Welfare Fund, KZ).

The seminar attendees were first addressed by Dr. Philippe Frossard, the new Vice-Provost of Research at Nazarbayev University, who provided the opening remarks.

The impetus for the seminar was the dissemination of results achieved and lessons learned from the Private Academic Cloud Computing (PACC) initiative being conducted by Dr. Ulrich Norbisrath, Assistant Professor in Computational Sciences at the School of Science and Technology at Nazarbyev University. The seminar featured a keynote address by Dr. Norbisrath, the principal investigator of the PACC project. Also presenting at the seminar were five student interns who were instrumental in the development and organization of the PACC project during the 2013 summer.

Also presenting at the seminar was an invited guest speaker, Dr. Albert Zündorf, Professor for Software Engineering at the University of Kassel, Germany. Dr. Zündorf’s presentation, “Software Engineering the Cloud”, reported on the experience gained from using cloud computation for training neuronal networks for wind turbine weather forecast prediction. The presentation covered the cloud infrastructure and lessons learned from its creation.

Other highlights from the seminar included the following short presentations: a discussion on “G-Cloud and R&D at NITEC” given by Altynbek Kalitanov from National Information Technologies; Nazarbayev University students Magzhan Ikram and Georgiy Krylov and their talk on “GPU Computing – Using the Power of Graphic Cards for High Performance Computing Resources”; and Nurzhan Bakibayev, also from Nazarbayev University, and his presentation on “Using Amazon Web Services in Research & Teaching – Two Case Studies”.

The seminar culminated with small group discussions addressing the following topics: GPU computing and computer applications in health care; and academic cloud computing student projects that involve industry and university internships and opportunities.

The seminar was characterized by lively discussion among the participants. There were numerous opportunities for networking, exchanging ideas, and collaborative development. General feedback from those who attended the seminar was strongly positive and many agreed that there was great merit in convening future seminars to further develop partnerships and establish potential collaboration as it pertains to the PACC project, especially in the areas of research and teaching.

Funding for the seminar was provided in whole by the PACC project’s grant award made available by the Nazarbayev University Research and Innovation System (NURIS). Additional funding to cover the travel expenses of the internationally invited guest speaker, Dr. Albert Zündorf, were made possible by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).