8 June 2016

South Africa: Science Minister Applauds Africa's Fastest Computer

Photo: Centre for High Performance Computing
Lengau, built in collaboration with Dell South Africa, is approximately 40 000 times faster than the normal Dell i3 processor laptop that is used by many South Africans at home and at work (file photo).

Pretoria — Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has congratulated the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) on unveiling Africa's fastest computer.

The supercomputer named Lengau is dubbed Africa's fastest computer. It was unveiled at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research's CHPC on Tuesday.

Lengau is a Setswana name for a cheetah, which is the fastest animal in the wild.

The computer has a processing speed capable of a thousand-trillion floating point operations per second. Floating point operations or flops are used in computing to calculate extremely long numbers.

Being the fastest computer in Africa, the Lengau now gives scientists in the research, technology and innovation space an opportunity to conduct their research locally without having to travel abroad for higher performance computing infrastructure.

In simple terms, the computer, built in collaboration with Dell South Africa, is approximately 40 000 times faster than the normal Dell i3 processor laptop that is used by many South Africans at home and at work.

Minister Pandor has commended the CHPC on the computer.

"I congratulate the CSIR and the CHPC on this quantum leap in support of South African science, especially data-intense research programmes like the Square Kilometre Array.

"The launch of this peta-scale computing facility in South Africa is evidence, again, of our determination to be globally competitive in certain areas of science and to make the necessary investments, and of the competence of South African scientists and engineers to develop, implement and maintain such cutting-edge technologies," Minister Pandor said.

The CHPC's previous system, named "Tsessebe" (Setswana for "antelope") had a peak performance of 24.9 teraflops and was number 311 on the list of the world's top 500 supercomputers and was ranked number one in Africa.

High-performance computing and advanced data technologies are regarded as powerful tools for enhancing the competiveness of regions and nations.

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