CSIR unveils ‘Africa’s fastest computer’ in South Africa

super computer dell CSIRThe Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has unveiled its new petaflop (PFLOPs) machine, claimed to be the fastest computer in Africa, in Cape Town

A Dell HPC system comprised of 1,039 Dell PowerEdge servers, based on Intel Xeon processors totalling 19 racks of compute nodes and storage has been used to create the super computer. It has a total storage capacity of five PB and uses Dell networking ethernet switches, Mellanox EDR InfiniBand with a maximum interconnect speed of 56 GB/s and Bright Cluster Management software.

With a processing speed of a 1,000 trillion floating-point operations per second (FLOPs – a measure for how many instructions per second a computer’s processor performs), the machine features over 24,000 cores, making it 15 times faster than the previous system. The machine, which was built by CSIR’s centre for high performance computing (CHPC), has been named Lengau (Setswana for cheetah).

The department of science and technology deputy director-general Thomas Auf der Heyde said that high-performance computing plays an important role in the economy. “For our country to grow at the required rate, as set out in the national development plan, it needs to change gear by building capacity in the production and dissemination knowledge. The CHPC represents a deliberate move by this country to invest in modernising our research and development.”

Dell vice-president of engineered solutions, HPC and cloud Jim Ganthier said, “The Lengau system will enable new opportunities and avenues in research, and help spur private sector growth in South Africa.”

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