Team Wits, winners of the Student Cluster Competition (SCC) run by CHPC and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), sponsored by Dell Technologies South Africa, honed their skills at the Dell HPC and AI Innovation Lab at Dell HQ in Round Rock as well as Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC) at the University of Texas.

The trip to Texas is part of the prize awarded by the SCC, which pitted 10 teams of undergraduate students against each other to build small-scale high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. The prize also included training at Dell Labs in Austin, Texas as well as the opportunity to travel to Hamburg in Germany to participate in the International Super Computing (ISC) Student Cluster Competition. Eight teams from as many nations as possible will compete in Germany this year.

During their time at the Texas Advanced Computing Centre, Team CHPC (named for the CSIR’s Centre for High-Performance Computing) learned about various modern HPC systems that support researchers worldwide, helping researchers tackle the computational and data challenges associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) workflows.

The team also enjoyed side trips to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Houston as well as a tour of the largest State College at Texas A&M with world class Data Centres and bleeding edge technology was an absolute treat for the mentors and students.

“South Africa’s government support of international Cyber Infrastructure excellence is paying off,” says Team CHPC coach Nyameko Lisa. “It is imperative that the CHPC continues to leverage partnerships and collaboration so that through the use of technology we may navigate, understand and solve our indigenous challenges and those across the continent.”

Dell Technologies supports Team CHPC’s ISC participation, while the CSIR sponsors US travel for training at Dell Labs and the Texas Advanced Computing Centre.

High-performance computing has been a powerful tool for researchers and scientists for decades. But recent rapid advancements in processing power and connectivity, combined with massive new sources of real time information, are fuelling the next industrial revolution as well as the next quantum leap in human progress.

Ryan Rautenbach, advisory systems engineer for Dell Technologies South Africa, says: “As it becomes more accessible, HPC is enabling adoption of AI and advanced analytics in multiple industries across a variety of use cases. This convergence of HPC, AI and analytics creates more opportunities to break new ground, make important discoveries and solve some of the most important challenges of our time.”

Featured picture: Nhlonipho Shezi, Lily de Melo, Mmabatho Hashatsi, Itumeleng Esther Khaka, Zainab Lorgat and Reinhard Jansen van Vuuren.