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.