Driving Growth

Driving Growth

How HPE is helping Saudi Arabia build its position as a global innovator

By Mohammed Alrehaili

At LEAP 2022, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) made two significant announcements with the aim to support the development of Saudi Arabia’s digital economy. Through our new Middle East organization headquartered in Riyadh, and our partnership with manufacturer and digital solutions provider, Alfanar, HPE aims to help the Kingdom meet Vision 2030 objectives.

HPE has made a long-term multimillion dollar investment that will support critical national initiatives in the public and private sectors, including education, health, oil and gas, financial services, and manufacturing. The investment will strengthen HPE’s deep rooted commitment to Saudi Arabia, which goes back more than 30 years.

HPE and Alfanar are planning to produce thousands of units annually from the leading HPE ProLiant Gen11 server family in the Kingdom. This is helping to support Vision 2030’s Made in Saudi Program, which helps local businesses increase their visibility, promote their products to a wider audience, and connect with consumers interested in purchasing from Saudi companies.

A lot has changed since LEAP, particularly following the sudden artificial intelligence (AI) boom. Chatbots have long been considered one of the most promising applications of AI. The fact that ChatGPT today demonstrates capabilities that even exceed some of the boldest expectations is essentially the result of innovations in supercomputing.

By enabling AI at scale, supercomputers dramatically accelerate the training of large language models– neural networks with several hundreds of billion parameters. As a result, we’re witnessing a fast evolution from the original idea of natural language processing to what is today called generative AI and currently inspires the imagination of millions of people.

 Who better to support the Kingdom in this AI revolution than HPE, the creator of the world’s first, fastest, and currently only exascale supercomputer. We have already announced that King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has selected HPE to build its next-generation supercomputer, Shaheen III, to deliver state-of-the-art supercomputing and AI capabilities for advancing research in fields such as food, water, energy and the environment.

This is a vital investment by the Kingdom to build its position as a global innovator, for industry competitiveness and economic growth. From accelerating vaccine discovery to fighting a pandemic, advancing clean energy systems to increase sustainability, to enabling new possibilities in AI, supercomputing is a core technology to solving Saudi Arabia’s, and the world’s, most challenging scientific and engineering problems.

Shaheen III will advance the nation’s global standing in the below areas, helping to drive humankind forward and achieving Vision 2030’s ambition to make Saudi Arabia a vibrant, ambitious society with a thriving economy:

1. Drug development: Significantly reduce the time needed to discover drug treatments and cures for disease. By applying AI and machine learning to physics-based models we can fundamentally change how new drugs are designed and tested. During the pandemic, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US worked with an HPE supercomputer to create an AI-driven modelling platform to narrow down the number of potential antibody candidates from 1,040 to just 20. Supercomputing can power these AI models at scale, which presents the opportunity to extend breakthroughs to cancer, heart disease, and the development of new antibiotics. This can help Saudi Arabia achieve its Saudi Genome Program, an extraordinary journey to construct a pioneering database that will not only capture the genetic blueprint of Saudi society, but also revolutionize healthcare by enabling personalized medicine, driving down healthcare costs, and uplifting the overall quality of life.

 2. Extreme weather prediction: Save lives by predicting extreme weather more quickly. Weather and climate predictions are a combination of chemistry, geology, and physics- and all of these calculations happen on a sphere that’s spinning at about 1,000 miles per hour. Thankfully, this is exactly the type of problem supercomputers were built to solve, helping forecasters today do a far better job of predicting extreme weather, such as where a hurricane will hit land- from within 200 miles 50 years ago to just 50 miles today.

 3. Fighting food scarcity: Help feed the world’s population by increasing crop yields. With advances in supercomputing, we’ll see the onset of a new agricultural revolution that uses genomics and bioinformatics, along with new genome-editing techniques to create new varietals of crops. Powered by supercomputers and advanced genetics techniques, work is already underway to map the genome for wheat so that we can create a heartier and more diverse variety that offers higher yields and can better adapt to environmental challenges.

 4. Enhance sustainability: Reduce the environmental footprint of things we use every day. We can use supercomputing technology to invent next-generation batteries that are safer, cheaper, and run longer. We can use it to design better nuclear fuels for clean energy or develop new polymers that degrade naturally when exposed to light so we don’t put more plastic into the ocean. This technology will significantly enhance the products we use each day– and reduce their impact on the environment.

 HPE’s significant commitment to Saudi Arabia highlights how we are contributing to the achievement of its Vision 2030 objectives, and helping positioning the nation as a technology hub. Recent progress with KAUST sets Saudi Arabia up to power the next generation of AI technology, as well as ensuring that vital building blocks of critical IT infrastructure are being manufactured within the country.


Mohammed Alrehaili is the Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Egypt. hpe.com

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