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International supercomputing contenders become honourable guests

It was a parliamentary affair for international supercomputing contenders at the Department of Science and Technology Budget vote in May 2017.  The team was invited to parliament as special guests of the Minister of Department of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor.

During the budget vote speech, the minister made special mention of the work of the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and its human capital development initiatives, one such being the Student Cluster Competition headed by David Macleod, CHPC Principal Engineer. Last year, the South African team won the overall prize at the International Supercomputing Competition (ISC) in June 2016, in Frankfurt Germany where they competed against 11 international teams.

Team SA has won the competition three-times and taken second position once. Asked on what the magic formula is David Macleod simply says: “We have good sponsors and we come prepared”. This year’s team is sponsored by DellEMC for hardware equipment of R2 million and Mellanox is sponsoring network equipment of R200,000.

In June this year, the CHPC will send a team of six undergraduate students to the ISC where they will build a small cluster of their own design on the exhibition floor and race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and applications. The students will have a unique opportunity to learn, experience and demonstrate how high performance computing influences our world and day-to-day learning. Team South Africa will consist of Mishka Mohamed, Kyle Jordan, Tyrone de Ruiters and Liam Doult - all from the University of the Western Cape as well as Lydia de Lange and Philip Goosen from Stellenbosch University

Minister Pandor wished the team well in Germany. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:57

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CHPC industry engagement meeting

In March, the CHPC met with 36 users from a number of private and public sector institutions to discuss their experiences withthe centre and how the centre can improve its service offering. The meeting was held at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria. 

The format of the meeting included active users providing a brief presentations on their experiences with the CHPC.  Presentations were given by: SA Weather Service, ESKOM, Mintek, Inqaba Biotec, Roche, Johnson Matthey, eScience, NECSA, PetroSA, the National Nuclear Regulator and the Agricultural Research Council.  These talks provided both current and prospective users the opportunity to develop a better understanding of what was involved in making productive use of the CHPC’s resources in non-academic environments. 

The presentations generally reflected a high degree of satisfaction with the performance of the Lengau cluster, as well as with the quality of support.  During group discussions, a data security concern was highlighted as an obstacle to more widespread commercial use of the centre's resources. Nevertheless, it was evident that there was substantial growth in interest in large-scale modelling, simulation and data analysis for non-academic purposes. 

The next industry engagement meeting will take place during the 2017 edition of the annual CHPC user conference to be held in Pretoria in December.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 11:03

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Lengau: a fully-fledged petascale system

CHPC’s Lengau Cluster is now a fully-fledged petascale machine with a High Performance Linpack score of 1.029 petaflops per second.

This follows a recent upgrade of the cluster which involved the addition of five new compute racks (each consisting of 72 nodes), effectively resulting in an additional 360 nodes (24 cores/node and 64GB/node) for Lengau.  The total number of nodes on Lengau is now 1368 and it has a total core count 32 832 cores.  The full total of 19 compute racks of Lengau is now available to users.  

With this upgrade Lengau becomes the first petascale compute cluster on the African continent.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 March 2017 11:46

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Planned system downtime

The planned upgrade to the Lengau compute cluster is currently well underway.


Preparation for this upgrade started at the beginning of January and the aim is to add add five additional racks, i.e. 360 nodes, to Lengau. This is part of the original procurement plan for Lengau and represents the second stage expansion that will yield the full petaflop capacity of the machine. Integration of these additional racks to Lengau require downtime of the cluster from 17 February to 7 March 2017, i.e. the cluster will be made available to users again on the 7th of March 2017. 



Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2017 13:44

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CHPC in the News

CHPC SAGrid Cluster Available

Documentation for users:

Dirisa Storage Unit Available

Lengau Cluster Available

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