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CHPC Initiatives in Data and HPC in South Africa

The centre has recently launched the Data Intensive Research Infrastructure of South Africa (Dirisa).

The infrastructure has a storage facility of two petabytes and is accessible through the South African National Research Network. It operates at a full capacity of 10 Gps/s and provides the latest technology which is based on open source software to enable CHPC users to define their own rules in data acquisition, sharing and curation. The establishment phase was funded by the Department of Science and Technology, following a positive report on the 2007 feasibility study.

The centre has completed the full migration of data portals in Climate Modelling, Astronomy and Earth Observation and is currently migrating data portals in Humanities, medical applications on Rheumatic Heart Disease data and Bioinformatics data on genomic sequencing, amongst others.

Work is underway to drive the identification and curation of other critical research data in order to make it accessible to a wider community. There are also plans to expand the current storage capacity of 2 petabytes to enable sufficient access by the CHPC's other strategic partners.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 18:42

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CHPC Scheduled Maintenance Dates for 2020

General availability

Every reasonable effort will be made to keep our HPC resources available and operational 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. Please note however that although the support personnel will do their best to keep the facility running at all times, We cannot guarantee to promptly resolve problems outside RSA office hours, and during weekends and public holidays. Nevertheless, Please notify This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of any issues whenever they arise.

Planned maintenance
Occasionally it is necessary as part of maintaining a reliable service to update system software and replace faulty hardware. Sometimes it will be possible to perform these tasks transparently by means of queue reconfiguration in a way that will not disrupt running jobs or interactive use, or significantly inconvenience users. Some tasks however, particularly those affecting storage or login nodes, may require temporary interruption of service.

Where possible, maintenance activities involving a level of disruption to service will be scheduled on every last Friday of each month if required starting from 08:00 - 16:30 ( local RSA time). Please see the below provisional date for planned maintenance.
  1. 31 January 2020
  2. 28 February 2020
  3. 27 March 2020
  4. 24 April 2020
  5. 29 May 2020
  6. 26 June 2020
  7. 31 July 2020
  8. 28 August 2020
  9. 25 September 2020
  10. 30 October 2020
  11. 27 November 2020
  12. 18 December 2020
Please note that this does not mean that there will be disruption every month, merely that if potentially disruptive maintenance is necessary we will do our best to ensure it takes place during this period, in that case there will be advance notification.

Establishing a provisional time slot for planned maintenance has the advantage that users may be confident that `dangerous' changes will not intentionally be undertaken at other times.

Exceptional maintenance and unplanned disruptions
It may happen that despite best efforts, it becomes necessary to reduce or withdraw service at short notice and/or outside the planned maintenance time slot. This may happen e.g. for environmental reasons, such as air conditioning or power failure, or in an emergency where immediate shutdown is required to save equipment or data.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2019 11:41

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Future challenges see industry finding its way to high performance computing


26 March 2012

South Africa’s Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) now has over 500 users from across the science and engineering domains. Traditional users of the centre have been higher education institutions and research councils. However, ever-mounting pressures on industry to grow their business and to become more competitive, have led a number of companies to the CHPC.

The CSIR’s Research Impact Area (RIA) strategy for the advanced manufacturing industry seeks to achieve significant impact through the development and transfer of manufacturing technologies that improve the competitiveness of existing South African industry while also creating new manufacturing opportunities. CHPC industry partners such as Sasol, Hatch and others are using the facility to conduct computationally intensive research that seeks to advance their products and increase their competitive edge. They have access to the facilities without long-term commitment, which translates to cost-effective access.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 18:45

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Student cluster build competition


9 May 2012

Application deadline extended to Thursday 7 June 2012.

The CHPC announces the opening of its search for the best computer science and engineering undergraduate students to participate in the CHPC Cluster Build Competition. The national competition takes place in December 2012 in Durban. The winning team will go on to represent South Africa at the International Supercomputing student competition in Germany in 2013.

The CHPC invites applications from suitably qualified candidates to attend the HPC Winter School and enter the competition. Its purpose is to introduce South African students to fundamental knowledge of high performance computing techniques and select regional teams for the CHPC's Student Cluster Competition in December 2012.

The competition and training is only open to South African students enrolled in a computer science related degree who are in 2nd year if enrolled in a 3 year degree, or 2nd/3rd year if enrolled in a 4 year degree.

The course will cover the concepts and theory of parallel computers, and programming for parallel systems with MPI, OpenMP and CUDA, using the C, Fortran or python programming languages.

The HPC School will run from Monday 2 July to Saturday 7 July at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. Cluster competition entrants will then participate immediately at the end of the school on Sunday 8 July in an evaluation and selection process for the December competition.

Please note that not all attendees of the HPC School will compete in the CHPC Student Cluster Competition in December, however, if you attend the HPC School you must be available to participate in the competition.

In the CHPC Student Cluster Competition participants will build small HPC clusters out of hardware provided by the CHPC. The contest will take place on the exhibition floor at the CHPC National Meeting in Durban, 3–7 December 2012. The participants will be given a selection of applications to optimise and run on their clusters to demonstrate the design’s performance. The winning team will be sent to Germany in June 2013 to represent the country at the ISC Student Cluster Competition.

There are no fees for successful applicants. The CHPC will cover the costs of accommodation during all events as well as air travel and conference fees.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

    Hold South African Citizenship
    Not hold any undergraduate degree
    If enrolled in a 3 year degree be in 2nd year
    If enrolled in a 4 year degree be in 2nd or 3rd year
    Be in good academic standing
    Be available for the CHPC Student Cluster Competition from 3rd to 7th December
    Be available to attend ISC in late June 2013
    Correctly complete the application form

Should you wish to participate kindly complete the registration form below, obtain a letter of support from an academic staff member of your faculty and attach your academic transcript.

No prior background in HPC will be assumed. Interactive lectures and computer tutorials will attempt to introduce the students to a range of key aspects of HPC and further illustrate how these tools are currently being applied to address research problems.

Transport, accommodation, and full board will be provided. Owing to budgetary constraints, only limited places are available for suitably qualified students.


CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 18h00 Thursday 7 June 2012

Should you wish to become one of the participants, please complete the following application form and email the document back to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before the closing date. Successful candidates will be notified by Monday 11 June 2012.

Download the full application form in MS Word format.

The CHPC calls for all talented students to submit their applications. As a public funded institution, the CHPC supports the transformation of South Africa and thus the organisers highly encourage students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to submit their applications. For general enquiries please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 15:11

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