Future directions of research collaboration among BRICS countries in the areas such as High-Performance Computing (HPC) and its weather-climate-environment applications, artificial intelligence(AI), application of supercomputers to drug design, and HPC- based precision medicine and public health, particularly for fighting the pandemic and geoinformatics for sustainable development were discussed at the BRICS working group meeting.
South Africa hosted and coordinated the fifth BRICS Working Group meeting on High-Performance Computing (HPC) and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) virtually under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track.
All five BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa participated. The meeting drew more than 50 participants, including various scholars, academicians, and government officials.
Sanjeev Kumar Varshney, Advisor & Head, International Cooperation Division, DST, led the meeting from the Indian side. He emphasized on the importance of this area in view of the emergence of new disciplines like big data, AI, machine learning, and their potential applications in the areas of medical sciences, earth science modeling, agriculture, and simulation.
Each nation shared its country’s progress in building an HPC infrastructure network and areas of interest for advancing BRICS collaboration.
Dr. Sanjay Wandhker, Senior Director at C-DAC, discussed India’s initiative of indigenous supercomputer development under the National Supercomputing Mission and its applications in drug design in order to create and implement a user-friendly and comprehensive early warning system for flood prediction.
India will soon share the concept note on cooperation amongst the BRICS startups in deep technology in areas of, agriculture, healthcare, and education. China proposed AI+HPC+5 G-based digital twin platforms and an open-source ecosystem for smart manufacturing, precision farming, and precision medicine. South Africa and Brazil proposed the flagship project on Digital Earth.
BRICS Working Group
The BRICS HPC & ICT Working Group provides a forum for researchers from BRICS member countries to discuss and deliberate on areas of mutual interest and develop deep technology-based solutions for societal challenges such as affordable healthcare, sustainable agriculture, extreme weather events, and climate modelling, etc.
This meeting is part of the BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Calendar of Activities 2020-21 adopted by all BRICS countries. India has assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021. About 100 events, including ministerial-level meetings, senior official meetings, will be organized as part of the BRICS 2021 Calendar.
Evolution of BRICS
BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) leaders gathered for the first time in July 2006 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the margins of the G8 Outreach Summit. The organization was formally named BRIC, during the first BRIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held on the sidelines of the General Debate of the UN in New York City in September 2006. After a series of high-level meetings, the first BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009.
The group was renamed from BRIC to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) after South Africa was accepted as a full member at the BRIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010.
BRICS is a significant alliance that brings together the world’s largest growing economies, accounting for 41% of the global population, 24% of global GDP, and over 16 % of global trade. Over the years, the BRICS countries have been the key engines of global economic growth.
India – Information and Communication Technology
India’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and the digital economy are important economic forces driving the country’s growth towards modernization.
India’s ICT industry contributes over 13 % to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the digital economy generates about $200 billion annually from business process management (IT-BPM), e-commerce, domestic electronics manufacturing, digital payments, digital communication services, etc.
In India, major ICT centres include Bengaluru, commonly known as India’s Silicon Valley, Hyderabad, Chennai, New Delhi, and Gurugram.
The goal of the Digital India initiative is to improve digital infrastructure and internet connectivity across the country. This and other major government initiatives will drive growth in the ICT sector as India aims to achieve a $1 trillion digital economy and a $5 trillion GDP by 2025.