Phl can be a major hub for AI data centers, server farms – tech exec

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The Philippines can be a major hub of data centers for artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) systems and networks that is a globally booming industry.

Tau Leng, senior vice president for technology and marketing of Silicon Valley-based multinational tech giant Super Micro Computer Inc., said the active government support for emerging AI technologies and a budding tech startup community was positioning the Philippines as a go-to location for data centers and server farms for AI/ML networks.

“I think Philippines has a very good position for this,” Leng said in a press conference for the 1st AI Pinas R&D Conference and Workshop 2023 opening day ceremonies spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) in Davao City.

Leng said the Philippine government has shown its willingness to support firms venturing into the emerging AI/ML technologies including startups.

Leng said ASEAN and the South Asian region was is expected to be major hubs of the sunrise AI/ML industry.

“In SuperMicro, in the past, we all focused on America, Europe. Now we all focus on the South Asia area. You can see that our investment in this region is going to be more and more.,” Leng said.

“We’re going to have big factory in Malaysia. If I came here earlier, things might be changed…it might have been the Philippines that we have selected (used) to (be the location of this) the big factory,” he said.

Enrico Paringit, DOST-PCIEERD executive director, said they were encouraged by the observation on the potential of the Philippines as a player in the AI/ML.

“Of course, in DOST, we’re always looking out for opportunities for industries to come in and participate in the innovation ecosystem in the land,” Paringit said.

“Really, we have identified the strategic locations of these data centers that are key components for developing our AI capabilities. It’s actually one of those areas where we also have key gaps,” he admitted.

“Aside from that, we are keen on further improving our offer, sweetening our offer, to would-be locators so that they can actually be placed here in the Philippines,” he said.

The S&T executive said the DOST was making substantial investments in initiatives to lay the foundation for the establishment and development of a local AI/ML industrial ecosystem “that encompasses a rich human resource pool buttressed by a solid IT infrastructure in the country.”

“There is enormous potential in terms of human resource. We are very dynamic, a very young community. Therefore, if you are in need of personnel to be able to contribute to the development and establishment, the utilization, the promotion of all these infrastructure, as well as with coming up applications that will actually serve many purposes, this is a good place to start,” Paringit said. – Rainier Allan Ronda

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