Local students head to supercomputing challenge
South African students from different universities will represent the country at the International Student Cluster Competition, hosted at the 2018 International Supercomputing Conference, in Germany.
The students came first at a national competition, which took place during the annual Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) Conference in Pretoria last week.
The students were part of 10 teams, consisting of four undergraduate students from universities across the country, who battled it out to demonstrate their cluster building and high performance computing skills.
The winning team will compete against 11 teams from different countries like China, Singapore, Thailand, Poland and Germany, among others.
In a real-time challenge, the students build small high-performance computing clusters on the exhibition floor, using hardware provided by CHPC and its industrial partners, and race to demonstrate the best performance across a series of benchmarks and applications.
The CHPC is one of three primary pillars of the national cyber infrastructure intervention initiated by the Department of Science and Technology and managed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
Speaking at the competition, the Department of Science and Technology's director-general, Dr Phil Mjwara, said the department was committed to investing in science, engineering and innovation, including the establishment and support of institutes such as the CHPC.
"This kind of government assistance fosters the creation and dissemination of knowledge of innovation and has a strong influence on the long-term competitiveness of the country," said Mjwara.
"There's no doubt that a country's ICT sector is vital to its long-term prosperity. The globally competitive ICT structure creates a sustainable ecosystem and enables researchers and scientists to globally compete," he said.
Last year, SA came second, and the country is hoping the team brings home another medal next year.
CHPC director Dr Happy Sithole is confident the team will make the nation proud: "We are very proud of what we have managed to achieve as country. Last year, our team managed to compete with the best teams and we won [a medal]. We believe that this team will make us proud."
Sithole said the objective was to create awareness of high performance computing and the great impact it has on the country.
"Students receive a unique opportunity to learn, experience and demonstrate how high performance computing influences our world and day-to-day learning."
The winning team includes Meir Rosendorff (Wits), Joshua Bruton (Wits), Kimessha Paupamah (Wits), Katleho Mokoena (Wits), Njabulo Sithole (University of Limpopo), Nathan Michlo (Wits), Biters Giga and Sharon Evans (Wits), as well as Zubair Gekko Bulbulia (Wits).