COMBATING the Brain Drain with Big Science: A case for a supercomputing facility at UCT
was the topic of discussion at last week's Vice-Chancellor's Open Planning Forum.
Speaker Dr Kevin Naidoo of the Department of Chemistry spoke at length about UCT's joint project with UWC around High Performance Computing (HPC) and the international innovations in the field.
He said that the academics involved in the project were proposing that a Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC) be established at UCT.
Naidoo argued that a CSC could feed national economic goals while providing a unique opportunity for conducting high-end IT research for use in the fundamental and applied sciences and in local industry.
He noted that at present a few UCT research groups were using a new method of cluster computing, which involved â€œusing several very cheap machines to do a large job, at a fraction of the cost of using a Super Computerâ€.
Naidoo went on to speak about grid computing still in its experimental stages which uses technology that connects computers around the world to each other.
Pointing to a world map illustrating grid-computing sites, Naidoo said that it was worrying that Africa was not included. â€œThese computers have a very sophisticated way of communicating with each other and we need to get involved with this project because very soon we will effectively be part of the new internet technology.
This is very important for a country that has identified IT as a key to its economic development.â€