The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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June 2011

Enabling technologies

High performance computing collaboration between SA and Tanzania picks up the pace

Future collaboration between the Centre for High Performance Computing and Tanzania's India-Tanzania Centre of Excellence in ICT is on the cards, following high-level bilateral discussions between the governments of South African and Tanzania in Dar-es-Salaam in April 2011.

Mrs Kagiso Chikane, Manager: Stakeholder Relations at the CSIR Meraka Institute, and Dr Happy Sithole, Director: CHPC, accompanied Mrs Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology and a senior delegation from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on this visit.

The Tanzanian HPC facility is a two teraflops machine that is linked to a telemedicine initiative for high impact service delivery. It also provides an electricity utility company with a call centre management facility. As neither of these services is computationally intensive, the machine is also utilised for other applications, including materials science and computational fluid dynamics.

It is anticipated that the SA-Tanzania HPC collaboration will be supported by DST funding to promote projects in the domains of agriculture and bioinformatics.

This HPC collaboration will take place within the context of a science and technology cooperation agreement between South Africa and Tanzania. With strong historical links to Tanzania, the South African government is committed to maintaining a strong partnership to spread the benefits of the implementation of the Square Kilometre Array project. Of equal importance is cooperation in agriculture, as Tanzania is reliant on this sector for the highest contribution to its gross domestic product.

Sithole points out that the CHPC - India-Tanzania Centre of Excellence in ICT collaboration has been bolstered by a Southern African Development Community (SADC) HPC workshop in February 2011 organised by the CHPC with the support of the DST. "SADC delegates at this workshop agreed on the need to set solid targets for HPC infrastructure and skills training," he confirms. "More work is needed in SADC, which should happen in a coordinated fashion."

One of the CHPC's highest priorities is skills training and Sithole envisages staff exchanges between the two institutions. "We will also be looking at ramping up the CHPC winter school to increase participation by SADC HPC researchers." The CHPC enjoys a partnership with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences for these training activities.

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