Aug 05, 2011
Technology giant to support South Africa’s radio telescope programmeBack
© Reuse this
The SKA is a €1.5-billion international radio telescope project, and South Africa and Australia are the two countries short- listed to host it. MeerKAT is intended as a precursor to the SKA and, should South Africa be selected as the site for the SKA, would be incor- porated into the international instrument; if Australia is chosen, MeerKAT will operate in addition to the SKA.
The MoU covers the period 2011 to 2015 (when MeerKAT will be commissioned), but progress will be reviewed every six months. “We are offering hardware and performance tools, such as compilers – software, which will help their [SKA] software,” explains Intel corporate VP and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) GM Christian Morales. “This is a leading-edge project – a world leading project. It’s always great to be in a project where there are problems to solve.
“The SKA needs one hundred times the level of performance that exists today in high performance computing,” he highlights. “SKA South Africa also wants an evolutionary architecture, better connectivity in a high-performance environment, better storage, more storage capacity and better security. “But most important is smart performance. “They want to process the data as fast as possible. That will accelerate research and allow astronomers to develop more rapid simulations.”
The specialised processing and analysis software that the MeerKAT and SKA will require will be developed by SKA South Africa and its international SKA partner agencies. Intel’s software will optimise the functioning of this specialist SKA software. The hardware that Intel will develop for SKA South Africa will be based on the company’s three-dimensional transistor technology.
“The MoU also covers marketing – that is, marketing the SKA to the youth to get them inter- ested in this iconic project,” he adds. “The idea is to demystify maths and science, to promote maths and science and to get students to chose maths and science careers.”
SKA South Africa will be supported by a virtual team of Intel engineers and researchers scattered around the world. Because a lot of Intel’s support will be in kind – with engineering teams of varying sizes working on different issues over differing time periods – it is not really possible to put a monetary value on it.
The SKA and MeerKat programmes are also stimulating the country’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector. “The Internet and knowledge-based economy is becoming a big focus in South Africa,” cites Morales. “I think we see a vibrant digital economy taking shape in this country as we speak. “The contribution of the Inter- net and digital economy to South Africa is still below 5% but we see it growing to between 5% and 10% in the foreseeable future. It’s very encouraging to see what is going on here. We are very hopeful we’ll see companies popping up here that will make breakthroughs.”
A lot of development has taken place in recent years regarding Africa’s ICT infrastructure, including the landing of new inter- (and intra-) continental cables and the rolling out of second- and third-generation wireless telephony and data systems. “This is very promising,” he affirms, “but there is a lot of infrastructure that still has to be deployed.”
Worldwide, about 1.5-billion people can access the Internet, with another two-billion waiting to do so, many of whom are in Africa. “A lot of technology evolution and innovation are still taking place. As a corporation, we keep on investing – including investing in this [EMEA] region,” he assures. “Europe, the Middle East and Africa is the biggest region for Intel. “Half of all innovation is taking place in this region, including innovation in Africa, where we have three legal entities – in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya – and more than 50 offices.”
The fact that Intel’s EMEA region supports SKA South Africa does not rule out Intel’s Asia region giving support to Australia’s SKA programmes.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other News This Week News
Updated 2 hours 31 minutes ago Ousted Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is adamant that his expulsion from the trade union federation was unfair and illegal. "I am... in consultations on whether or not I should challenge my extremely irregular, illegal and...
Updated 2 hours 32 minutes ago JSE-listed industrial conglomerate Ansys has raised R17.2-million through the issue of 42.4-million ordinary shares to partly fund the acquisition of Parsec Holdings and for working capital requirements. In November, the company entered into a R93.2-million...
Updated 3 hours ago A new tool that provides municipalities with a prewritten tender and contract, which can easily be adapted to suit the specific needs and circumstances of a particular region, is now available and is expected to help municipalities curb water losses. The Model...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Projected capital expenditure (capex) in the South African automotive assembly industry should reach a record R7.48-billion this year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its 2014 fourth quarter business review. Capex...
After several years of navigating project-threatening red tape and currency fluctuations, the 4.4 MW Bronkhorstspruit biogas power plant, which will supply clean energy to a leading automotive manufacturer in Gauteng, is expected to enter production before June....
South African paper and pulp producer Sappi reported earlier this month that it would build a pilot plant for the production of low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.
The long-term outlook for Nigeria is a country that has the potential to be very strong. So affirmed International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative Dr Gene Leon on recently. "But we are starting from a point of huge...
Poor infrastructure planning and inadequate maintenance are becoming increasingly problematic for new developments and the associated infrastructure required to support such developments. In many urban and rural municipalities, the state of infrastructure has been...