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ICTP computer donation

High-performance equipment boosts African computational power

ICTP has donated high-performance computing (HPC) equipment worth 25,000 euro to Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. The equipment was officially dedicated on 26 October at a ceremony attended by representatives from the University, ICTP, the UN, and the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa.

The donation of the HPC was made possible by funds from the Italian government and UNESCO.

HPC uses clusters of computers to solve complex scientific computational problems, with applications ranging from climate simulations to the modelling of atomic structures. Sub-Saharan African researchers have few options for HPC on their continent, with most relying on shared connections with clusters in Europe and elsewhere.

In addition to the equipment donation, ICTP is providing training support for the computers. In June 2009 the Centre held an intensive, three-week workshop on the installation and maintenance of HPC Linux-based clusters. The African participants--comprising a mix of computer professionals and researchers from universities across the continent--were expected to take their knowledge back to Africa to set up their own HPC centres and to train others.

Staff at Addis Ababa University who attended the summer course have set up the donated equipment, and scientists from there and other African institutes will already put it to test during an ICTP-sponsored regional climate and impact modelling workshop for eastern Africa, which will rely on the new HPC equipment to perform climate simulations.

The Italian/UNESCO-supported project also plans to help establish a general academic certification and training programmes in HPC infrastructure development and applications at the University of Addis Ababa, the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Nigeria, and the Institute for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (IMSP), Benin.


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