This year the CHPC and the South African National Research Network (SANReN) have made significant progress in the ongoing efforts to establish and enhance usage of South Africas national cyber infrastructure. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) funds both initiatives, which will soon be complemented by the Very Large Datasets initiative.
The SUN Microsystems hybrid supercomputer at the CHPC has recently made it onto the TOP500 list of supercomputers globally. Launched in September 2009, it is now the fastest supercomputer in Africa. The CHPC boasts significant supercomputing resources for the local and African research communities. Since the launch of its operation, the CHPC has achieved significant milestones, most notably the completion of its first round of flagship projects. Flagship projects are a mechanism to drive pockets of collaborative research requiring significant computational resources on problems of relevance to South Africa and have a strong human capital development.
The DST and SANReN recently announced the completion of the national backbone networking ahead of schedule. The national backbone interconnects the metros of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and eThekwini on a 10-gigabits-per-second fibre-optic ring network and supports projects of national importance. The Tertiary Education Network has acquired international bandwidth from Seacom which can now be distributed via the SANReN national backbone network. This development bodes well for South Africas ability to tackle bandwidth-hungry projects such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), as well as for collaboration with international partners.
This year the 5th BELIEF symposium has been collocated with the 2009 CHPC national meeting. The CSIR Meraka Institute is part of the BELIEF-II consortium, funded by the Capacities Programme which is part of the European Unions Framework Programme 7. This will allow valuable insights into the trends and visions of the evolving e-Infrastructures ecosystem in South Africa and Europe by providing a co-operation platform to promote knowledge sharing between business, research, government and academic communities.
Speakers at the event have been drawn from the local and international research communities. These include C. Schoultz, Director: Character Matters who will speak on impact of cyber infrastructure on the South African animation industry and J. Jonas, Associate Director: Science & Engineering SKA South Africa, whose topic is entitled Dataflow in Radio Telescopes: the Square Kilometre Array and MeerKAT.
A selection of overseas speakers includes Dr C. McIntyre, Senior Vice President, Strategic Operations and High Performance Computing Initiative, Council for Competitiveness (US); Professor Yannis Ioannidis, Professor at the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications of the University of Athens and Dr Hermann Lederer, Deputy Director of the Garching Computing Centre (RZG) of the Max Planck Society.
Proceedings at the event will be shared with interested parties in Europe via video conferencing.