The director-general of the national Department of Science and Technology, Dr Philemon Mjwara, recently visited the UCT-CERN Research Centre. This centre provides information-processing support for the Geneva-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), specifically its A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE). With ALICE, CERN researchers are trying to reproduce Quark Gluon Plasma, sometimes referred to as the "missing state of matter". The UCT-CERN centre and its supercomputer (named Carmen) is one node in an international computing grid that processes the vast amounts of data generated by ALICE. But the centre is always in need of funding for, especially, postgraduates and equipment. Thus the visit by Mjwara. "The kind of expertise, knowledge and structure one needs are big science things," Mjwara said. "You can't do it on a shoestring budget."
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