by Panos Charitos & Chinorat Kobdaj. Published: 18 December 2012

A long awaited day for SUT finally came. Last week SUT signed a MoU with CERN and the ALICE Collaboration following its recent acceptance as a full ALICE Member from the Collaboration Board. Since 2009 Thailand has pushed forward to establish joint research projects with CERN; the long-lasting efforts have resulted in a significant milestone with the signing of the MoU under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has graciously presided over the signing ceremony of the MoU between the Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) and the ALICE Collaboration. Her Royal Highness has visited CERN four times, and her exemplary leadership has given Thai researchers the opportunity to participate in research projects at CERN. In order to develop the academic and research cooperation with CERN, Thai-CERN sub-committee has been appointed with the aim to work in close collaboration with CERN. SUT is one of the 13 institutes in Thailand that have developed a collaboration with CERN. SUT became an associate member of ALICE on 18 November 2011 and was recognized as a full member on 12 October 2012.

From left to right: Chinorat Kobdaj (SUT team leader), Emmanuel Tsesmelis (CERN-DG's Office), Pairash Thajchayapong (Thai-CERN Committee) , Prasart Suebka (SUT rector), Paolo Giubellino (ALICE Spokesperson) and Luciano Musa (Leader of the ALICE ITS Upgrade Project)

The agreement will strengthen more the research capacity and capability of the Thailand Research programme.

The Chairman of the Thai-CERN subcommittee, Professor Pairash Thajchayapong stated that this is an the auspicious moment for all of us. It has truly marked a milestone for particle physics research and development in Thailand.

The agreement was signed by:
• Dr. Sergio Bertolucci, CERN Director for Research and Computing,
• Dr. Chinorat Kobdaj, A team leader from SUT,
• Dr. Prasart Suebka, SUT rector
• ALICE spokesperson Dr. Paolo Giubellino.

The Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation with SUT refers to the building of a Tier-2 computing centre, which will become part of the National e-Science Infrastructure Consortium. The budget for this project has already been approved and SUT will provide computer equipment that will be used to build this high performance computing system connected to CERN. By using information technology and computer engineering techniques large amounts of data from CERN will be stored and processed by using SUT’s computing centre. This will also include the development of software for the analysis of the experimental data as well as designing the accessibility interface for data analysis.

Researchers in SUT will be able to take advantage of the high performance computing systems particularly useful for a variety of disciplines such as: Electrical engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computational Mathematics, Physics, Agricultural technology and of course Information Technology. In addition SUT will participate in a research project for the upgrade of the Inner Tracking System (ITS) which will improve the measurement of particles and the ALICE performance in higher luminosities.

SUT has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CERN/ALICE Experiment which will strengthen the research capacity and capability of the Thailand Research programme but also involves a significant contribution to the future ALICE upgrade plans.

"SUT was the first university in the country and the first in the region that became a full member of ALICE. And Thailand is one of five countries in Asia, the other four being China, Japan, India and South Korea, that participate in this collaboration. This means further opportunities for scientists, researchers and engineers in Thailand that can acquire new knowledge at CERN. It will also strengthen the research capacity of the university to advance to the national and international level and in that sense become a leading regional University" said the SUT rector.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has graciously presided over the signing ceremony of the MoU between the Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) and the ALICE Collaboration.

Emmanuel Tsesmelis from CERN DG's office said "As for the scientific collaboration between Thailand and ALICE, it goes without saying that I consider the potential and prospects for a mutually beneficial collaboration of Thailand, i.e., SUT, National Electronics and Computer Technology Center(NECTEC), Thai Microelectronics Center(TMEC) and Synchrotron Light Research Institution(SLRI), and ALICE to be tremendous and I am sure that this will develop further. The ITS upgrade is a unique opportunity for these Thai groups to get involved in high-tech projects with the LHC and ALICE. "

The ceremony was held at Sra Pathum Palace, Bangkok, Thailand and was well-attended not only by SUT researchers and staff but also
• Representatives from Ministry of Science and Technology,
• Director and Deputy Director of the National Science and Technology Development Agency,
• Director of the Thailand Center of Excellence in Physics,
• Director of the Synchrotron Light Research Institution (Public Organization),
• Representatives from Ministry of Education,
• President of the Thai Physics Society.

Dr. Paolo Giubellino (ALICE) and Dr. Prasart Suebka, SUT rector holding two copies of the M.O.U.

Paolo Giubellino, ALICE spokesperson, after congratulating SUT for its success, mentioned the objective of ALICE. ALICE is very pleased to have PhD students and researchers working in various projects related to ALICE and also hosting students in the summer program me of CERN. Finally, Luciano Musa, the Project Leader of the ITS Upgrade Project, stated the importance of the ITS Upgrade and the R&D efforts both for CERN and for Thailand.

Luciano Musa also added that “After this first round of meetings in Thailand, it seems to us that there are very good perspectives for an involvement of other technical departments of the Suranaree University of Technology, the Synchrotron Light Research Institute, the NECTEC and TMEC. We have now to act upon these promising premises and discuss in detail in which of the ITS activities and how the various research groups can be involved. In order to fit in the overall project organization process it would be important to elaborate a first plan for the participation of Thailand within the next few months. “