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SA Student Cluster Challenge Team Scoops Top Honours


Flying the SA flag

Team South Africa scooped overall top honours on 19 June 2013 at the international Student Cluster Challenge in Leipzig, Germany, achieving the highest aggregate points total for all the benchmarks included in the competition (Linpack and the chosen applications) and acing the interview with the judges. South Africa’s resounding success was unsuspected, dropping a few jaws in the hall since the country was first time entrant.
The Student Cluster Challenge is hosted by the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) and is an opportunity to showcase student expertise in a friendly yet spirited competition. The competition features small teams that compete to demonstrate the incredible capabilities of state-of- the-art high-performance cluster hardware and software. In a real-time challenge, teams of six undergraduate and/or high school students build small clusters of their own design on the ISC exhibit floor and race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and applications. The students have a unique opportunity to learn, experience and demonstrate how high-performance computing influences our world and day-to-day learning. Held in collaboration with the High Performance Computing Advisory Council and ISC, the Student Cluster Challenge is designed to introduce the next generation of students to the high performance computing world and community.
Nations conducted domestic competitions to select their teams and eight teams were entered into the final. The Centre for High Performance Computing was the organizer of South African competition. In Leipzig, the following countries were represented.

• USA: 2 teams
• China: 2 teams
• Germany: 1 team
• UK: 1 team
• Costa Rica: 1 team
• South Africa: 1 team

The experience will assist South Africa grow a generation of high performance expertise for national economic development and for large projects such as the Square Kilometre Array.
The much elated national team will arrive in South Africa on Saturday, 22 June 2013 at 09h40, on flight TK0040. To read further on the competition, please click here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 16:35

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CHPC supercomputers help understand how radio galaxies trace dark matter in the universe

Astronomy researchers from the University of the Western Cape and the CHPC used CHPC facilities to provide an unprecedented view on the distribution of radio galaxies observed billions of light years away and gave new insights into how luminous matter traces the underlying dark matter in the universe.

Galaxies contain billions of stars and are believed to host massive black holes at their centre. When material falls onto the black hole, jets of energetic particles are sometimes emitted and these particles interact with surrounding magnetic fields to produce light at radio wavelengths; that is electromagnetic radiation which can be detected by radio telescopes. Galaxies that have these features are called radio galaxies and can be detected at long distances from the Earth, typically at more extensive distances than the galaxies that are surveyed by optical telescopes like the Southern African Large Telescope. "We don't know what the dark matter is, it’s one of the biggest mysteries in science, but these results help to constrain the relationship between the dark matter and the luminous matter" says Prof Catherine Cress, research scientist at the CHPC and co-author on the paper.

The researchers used radio data from the Jansky Very Large Array and optical data from the Apache Point observatory in the USA in their analysis. They developed their own software to analyse the data using the Sun M9000 system at the CHPC. The computationally intensive calculations took many weeks to complete.

A journal article on the work, entitled “Probing the bias of radio galaxies at high redshift”, was recently published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The first author of the article, Sean Passmoor, was a PhD student working under Prof Cress's supervision. His research was partly funded by the CHPC's flagship programme. The programme was established to encourage researchers in South Africa to explore new research areas that require high performance computing. Sean is now a research scientist at the South African Square Kilometre Array (SKA) office in Cape Town.

SKA will be the biggest radio telescope in the world and most of it will be built in South Africa. These results show that local scientists will be able to lead projects conducted with the SKA.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:08

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CHPC Acquires ANSYS Fluent Licence

Fluid dynamics researchers will be glad to know that the CHPC has recently acquired the ANSYS Research CFD licences, incorporating ANSYS® Fluent® and ANSYS® CFX® . The Licence is currently being tested for account usage and more information will follow this testing stage. It will be limited for academic use only. If you are a full time student or researcher at an academic institution then you may request access to use Fluent on the CHPC clusters. Send your request along with motivation and description of the work in an email to ' This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. '.  

ANSYS Fluent software contains the broad physical modeling capabilities needed to model flow, turbulence, heat transfer, and reactions for industrial applications ranging from air flow over an aircraft wing to combustion in a furnace, from bubble columns to oil platforms, from blood flow to semiconductor manufacturing, and from clean room design to wastewater treatment plants. Special models that give the software the ability to model in-cylinder combustion, aeroacoustics, turbomachinery, and multiphase systems have served to broaden its reach. “We are very excited to see this development.  This acquisition will give our academic clients the ability to run models in excess of 100 million cells, that up to now was not possible locally.”, said Dr Danie de Kock of Qfinsoft, the South African Channel Partner for ANSYS. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 12:56

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International Research Community Honours Prof Ngoepe

Scores of academics, industry representatives, research collaborators, and current and former students of Prof Phuti Ngoepe gathered for a conference at the University of Limpopo (UL) in January to honour the academic on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
South African and international collaborators graced the occasion to share the outputs of the research they have done and are currently doing with Prof Ngoepe in the computational modelling of materials. Among the delegates were UL’s s administrative top brass; the Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara; the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources; and speakers from a number of the country’s universities. International collaborators present included: University College London, University of Kent, University of Oxford and Imperial College.
The CSIR and Transnet also used the event to share a number of projects undertaken in collaboration with Prof Ngoepe. Some of the research projects shared were:
• Brillouin and Raman scattering studies in Materials Science
• Nano particles to save the Mary Rose
• Computer modelling of the interaction of surfactants and peptides with apatite mineral surfaces
• Computer modelling studies of pentlandites
• TiO2 surfaces and interfaces with bone mineral thin film
• Amorphisation and recrystallisation of pure and lithiated titanium dioxides
• Electron trapping in polyethylene
• Challenges in modelling topological close-packed phase formation in Ni-based superalloys
• Computational modelling of light metal alloys
• Computational modelling of precious metal alloys.

The professor was many times described as a ‘blue sky scientist’. “Ngoepe is a rare combination of a towering intellect and profound humility”, said Prof Modibe, a long-time friend of Prof Ngoepe.
Ngoepe is South African Research Chair on Computational Modelling of Materials; Director of the Materials Modelling Centre at UL; and is a CSIR research fellow. In his career that spans over 40 years, he has taught and supervised postgraduate students including nine doctoral students. He has served on the boards of a number of science councils including the National Research Foundation, Mintek and the Council for Geosciences. Among the long list of awards and accolades bestowed upon him over the years is the Order of Maphungubwe awarded in silver in 2008. The order is South Africa’s highest honour and is granted by the president for achievements in international areas that serve the country’s interest. Its first recipient was former President Nelson Mandela.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:57

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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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