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Africa’s fastest SuperComputer installed in South Africa; the Lengau (Cheetah) System

by Milicent Atieno
Africa’s fastest SuperComputer installed in South Africa; the Lengau (Cheetah) System

South Africa is currently home to the fastest supercomputer on the African continent. The computer was installed by the Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The machine is a petaflops (PFLOPs) machine.

This 40,000-core one petaflop Lengau system computer capable of speeds of up to thousand trillion floating points operations per second is meant to open new possibilities for research purposes and advance private-sector projects. The floating point operations (FLOPs) are the best in computing extremely long numbers. Lengau is cheetah in Setswana.

With over 40,000 cores, the CHPC says this machine is the fastest on the continent, beating the previous holder of that title the Tsessebe (antelope in Sestwana). Tsessebe peaked at 24.9 teraflops per second and was the fastest supercomputer in Africa and number 311 in the world’s top 500 supercomputers list.

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 of knowledge,” said Dr. Thomas Auf der Heyde the deputy director-general for Research Development and Support at the Department of Science and Technology.

The CHPC represents a deliberate move by this country to invest in modernizing our research and development. High-performance computing and advanced data technologies are powerful tools in enhancing the competitiveness or regions and nations.”

The Director of CHPC Dr. Happy Sithole gave an account of the journey leading up to the unveiling of the PFLOPs machine: “When we started in 2007, we took inspiration from the fastest animals in the land and named our first high-performance computing system iQudu (Xhosa for kudu) which boasted 2.5 teraflops (which is 2.5 trillion operations per second).

In 2009, there was increased demand for computational resources, and a new high-performance computing system dubbed the Tsessebe was launched. It boasted 24.9 teraflops and became number 311 on the TOP500 supercomputers, and ranked number one on the African continent. The system was later upgraded to 64.44 teraflops.”

This article first appeared IT Web.

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