Africa getting first non-South African supercomputer

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Africa will soon be home to another supercomputer and, strangely, this one won’t be based in South Africa.

Kenya’s iHub (Innovation Hub), which is described as “…an open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area”, is getting support and funding from corporate partners – including Google – to get two initiatives off the ground. One of these is the creation of a UX (user experience) lab in Kenya and the other is the establishment of the iHub cluster.

Google Africa has provided funding while Intel has chipped in with a Multiflex Server and the first four nodes of what will eventually be a 24-node HPC cluster are being built. Erik Hersman, who is a co-founder of the iHub, believes that the supercomputer will be beneficial for several reasons.

  • Research and training opportunities for super computer enthusiasts and university students
  • Training people capable of being SREs (Service Reliability Engineers)
  • Power-Computing service for local content
  • A host for parallel and resource-hungry applications such as weather prediction, draught prediction and real-time information dispatch.

Computing technology on the African continent, outside of South Africa, has a little catching up to do and the iHub cluster is a good start.

“As with the UX Lab, the iHub Cluster will be for people to learn what goes on under the hood of HPC’s by building it, and to learn how to use the power in it to solve big data problems.”

Source: Ars Technica

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