A supercomputer in the fight against climate change dangers

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

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This morning, from the principal’s conference room of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, Assembly Hall building, the Caribbean region will take a giant leap forward in its preparation for combating the ever-emerging dangers of climate change.



The UWI and Fujitsu, the forward-looking international technology firm, will sign a contract for the acquisition of a high-performance computing and storage system or, in the modern lingua, a supercomputer valued at US$742,376 or J$93,539,427.



More importantly, the supercomputer will bring together the foremost agencies in the fight to protect the Caribbean from the fallout of climate change and the dangers it poses to the regional ecology and economy.



We are excited by the prospective benefits expected to come from the programme which has as its main objectives to help to improve regional processes of climate relevant data acquisition, storage, analysis, access, transfer, and dissemination.



Further, it will be harnessed to pilot and scale up innovative climate resilient initiatives, utilising a regional approach that seeks to generate data and develop information products and services for use at the national levels as well.



Additionally, the programme will seek to fill the yawning gap in the utilisation of climate data and information for decision-making purposes, an ability for which everyone knows our region is not well known.



The region will be forever grateful to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for providing US$10.39 million in grant funding to the Caribbean to implement what is being called the Investment Plan for the Caribbean Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) over a five-year period.



UWI is tasked with executing the programme through its Mona Office for Research and Innovation (MORI), and by regional organisations working on climate change. The exciting Fujitsu supercomputer will make all this possible.



It is clear that this development is being regarded as a game-changer in the climate change community. Some of those coming to witness the signing event include Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, deputy principal, UWI, Mona Campus; Gerard Alleng, Washington, DC; Mervyn Eyre, president/CEO, Fujitsu Caribbean, Central America and Mexico; Dr Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, director, Mona Office for Research and Innovation; Anaitée Mills, climate change specialist, IDB, Jamaica; Professor Michael Taylor, Climate Studies Group, UWI; Dr Tannecia Stephenson, Climate Studies Group, UWI; Jeremy Whyte, CIO, UWI Mona Campus; and Sandra Jones, vice-president, marketing and communications, Fujitsu Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.



We congratulate all the stakeholders in this very important endeavour, knowing that what they do is for all of us in this vulnerable and tourism-dependent part of the world. It is critical that they keep the public up to speed on the results of their work.



There are still those who question the impact of climate change or whether there is any such thing. We at this newspaper have no doubt. We have seen enough to convince us of the dangers.


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