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CHPC Conference in the News

CHPC 2017 Student Cluster Competition winners on Morning Live, SABC: Watch here

South African students to showcase skills in Germany: Read here

Students to represent SA at supercomputing competition in Germany next year: Mail and Guardian download

Students to compete in Germany: New Age download

Last Updated on Friday, 15 December 2017 13:47

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Firing up the continent

The year 1994 marked a much-anticipated turning point in South Africa's more in the HPC Year Book on page 6

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 14:38

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CSIR and SA Weather Services partner

For the development of weather and climate products and services

The South African Weather Service (SAWS), an entity of the Department of Environmental Affairs, and the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) of the CSIR, have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will help strengthen the relationship between the two organisations in terms of knowledge and skills transfer, as well as joint research projects that can result in the development of weather and climate products and services through the use of High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities.

The mission of the CHPC is to provide world-class high performance computing to scientific and academic institutions in South Africa that enables cutting-edge research with high impact on the country’s economy. SAWS is the mandated national meteorological service which has a vision of a WeatherSMART Nation, where the quality of life, resilience to extreme weather events and the mitigation of climate change impacts can all be enhanced through the use of reliable weather and climate data provided by the organisation.

In order to produce weather forecasts and climate predictions and projections, SAWS uses mathematical models that run on big computers to allow simulations to be produced timeously for decision making. SAWS uses a CRAY XC30 supercomputer that has 84 computing nodes and runs at an average of 85% usage to produce its every day, operational forecasts that are subsequently issued by SAWS’ forecasters to the public through various dissemination methods that include radio and television. The supercomputer at SAWS is, however, inadequate to conduct the necessary research to improve on its modelling forecasts and applications research in a bid to stay up to date with other international organisations. It is for this reason that SAWS and the CHPC have joined forces to ensure that SAWS stays relevant on modelling research that will eventually translate into even better and more reliable weather forecasts and climate predictions.

The CHPC hosts the largest and fastest computer in Africa called Lengau. Lengau comprises 1368 nodes each with 24 Intel Xeon ® E5-2690 V3 CPU Cores, and 5 fat nodes each with 5 Intel Xeon ® E7-4850 CPU cores. CHPC also provides a total of 4PB for temporary storage. SAWS scientists will utilise Lengau to run weather and climate models for research purposes. The CHPC cluster will also serve as a fail-over or business continuity system for SAWS’ operations, which will ensure that model forecasts are issued and disseminated in the event of a system failure at SAWS.  The SAWS head office in Pretoria is already on the South African National Research Network (SANReN), which means data can be downloaded and uploaded onto the CHPC cluster in Cape Town in near real time.


CSIR and SAWS delegation during the signing of the MoA


The signing of MoA was followed by discussions on technical aspects of the partnership: potential challenges and solutions, the setting of goals, capacity development between the two organisations, potential flagship prjects and a discussion around the possibility of having a meteorology research chair or two in South Africa. SAWS CEO: Mr Jerry Lengoasa, thanked the CSIR for the opportunity to partner, sighting that it would be difficult for his organisation to perform its mandate on its own given the computational resources challenges it is experiencing.

“Building an ecosystem of partnerships is important, the synergies that come from this type of partnerships is what the CSIR is looking for”, said Ms Hina Patel, Executive Director: CSIR Meraka Institute.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 16:13

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CHPC supercomputer finds new home in Ghana

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Relations (CSIR) has through its Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), donated a portion of its supercomputer to Ghana, where it will be used for human capital development purposes in preparation for the data processing requirements associated with the Square Kilometre Array’s (SKA) project. The donation of the supercomputer components is part of the launch of the first African SKA satellite outside of South Africa that recently took place in Accra,Ghana.

The single rack of compute nodes, with storage and network, was part of the CHPC’s decommissioned Tsessebe supercomputer and is now dedicated to training and capacity development at the Ghana Earth Observatory and will form the initial part of the processing of the data emanating from the satellite. The technology transfer forms part of the first phase of the CHPC’s SKA Readiness project involving repurposing and transfer of high performance computing (HPC) systems that are out of production to create HPC imprints in the 8 SKA Africa partner countries: Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Kenya, Madagascar and Ghana. 

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) through the African Renaissance Fund funds the SKA Readiness project.  SKA Africa partner countries, with the exception of Kenya and Mozambique who are later in the year, have received HPC systems from three supercomputers: Ranger from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in the United States of America, Cambridge supercomputer from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and Tsessebe from the CSIR in South Africa.

The second phase of the SKA Readiness project will start in 2018 through the donation and distribution of Stampede, a next generation supercomputer from TACC, which will expose the partner countries to different types of HPC technologies.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:59

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