Region-specific guidelines to encourage SMEs to use high performance computing

Sergio Botelho Junior, Bill O’Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to explore high performance computing (HPC) in the context of the South East region of Ireland, which hosts a publicly available HPC infrastructure, by identifying whether companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are using, or are prepared to use, HPC to improve their business processes, expansion and sustainability. The result of the analysis provides region-specific guidelines that are meant to improve the HPC landscape in the region. The lessons learned from this research may apply to other similar, and developing, European regions. Design/methodology/approach: This paper explores the use of HPC in the context of the South East region of Ireland and examines whether companies, especially SMEs, are benefiting from the use of publicly available HPC infrastructure in the region. This paper also provides a set of recommendations, of a policy nature, and required actions to increase HPC usage, based on the reality of the region. Therefore, the first step in the process was to understand the HPC landscape in the South East region of Ireland. Interviews were conducted with higher education institute (HEI) staff who were knowledgeable about the HPC infrastructure of their institutes and also about whether collaboration between the HEIs and businesses from the same region exists. The interview findings allowed the proposal of region-specific guidelines to improve the HPC landscape and collaboration in the region. The guidelines were analysed and refined in a focus group with key regional stakeholders from academia, industry and government, who have experience and expertise in high-technology transfer processes happening in the region. Findings: The findings of the current study strongly suggest that HPC usage by SMEs in the South East region of Ireland is still incipient; and that HPC knowledge is currently inadequately transferred from the HEI hosting the HPC infrastructure to public and private sector organisations based in the region. The findings also demonstrate that there are no courses or training programmes available dedicated to HPC and that the level of collaboration between the HEI hosting the HPC infrastructure and industry in the region is minimal as regards HPC usage and projects. Therefore, there is a need to put specific targeted policies and actions, both from a regional government and HEI perspectives, in place to encourage SMEs to optimise their processes by using HPC. Originality/value: This research is unique as it provides customised region-specific recommendations (RSR) and feasible actions to encourage industry, especially SMEs, to use HPC and collaborate around it. The literature review identified that there is a lack of studies that can inform policymakers to include HPC in their innovation agenda. Previous research studies specifically focussing on HPC policies are even more scarce. Most of the existing research pertaining to HPC focusses on the technical aspect of HPC; therefore, this research and paper bring a new dimension to existing HPC research. Even though this research was focussed on the South East of Ireland region, the model that generated the RSRs can be extrapolated and applied to other regions that need to develop their HPC landscape and the use of HPC among SMEs in their respective regions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Policy, Regulation and Governance
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • HPC
  • Public policy
  • Regional development

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