Swiss Minister and Ambassador to SA visit CHPC
Swiss State Secretary (the equivalent of a minister) for Education, Research and Innovation, Dr Mauro Dell’Ambrogio and the Ambassador to the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, Mr Christian Meuwly, visited the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) on 2 June to discuss the centre’s operations and a number of potential collaboration items. They also used the opportunity to explore and to view the centre’s datacentre and technology.
On the agenda were discussions around collaborations with big data, with specific reference to processing and storage. The Swiss delegation was also keen to understand CHPC’s participation in the European Organisation for Nuclear Research’s (Cern) Atlas and Alice projects and applauded the country’s admittance saying it reveals South Africa’s ability to back international science experiments. CHPC signed a memorandum of understanding with Cern for provision of a Tier 2 processing facility and will run 1600 jobs per day for international projects. Plans are underway to expand services to Cern for a Tier 1 facility which involves provision of a permanent storage.
High on the Swiss delegation’s agenda was to initiate a discussion towards collaborations between CHPC and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on establishing and facilitating Moocs for Africa. Moocs are massive open online courses designed with the aim to change the century-old model of higher education. Their interactive technology aims to deliver top-tier teaching from institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, not just to a few hundred students in a lecture, but for free and via the Internet to thousands or even millions around the world. CHPC/Swiss government discussions are set to continue.