SA 'must spend more' on technology

2010-12-10 09:28
Dr Daniel Moeketsi of the CHPC says that funding for technology can be problematic. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Dr Daniel Moeketsi of the CHPC says that funding for technology can be problematic. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The government needs to spend more money on the development of science and technology, Dr Happy Sithole manager of the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) has said.

"We are investing in the right places, but we can still do better," Sithole told News24 on the sidelines of the CHPC's annual national meeting in Cape Town.

The theme of the conference is "Advancing research and development through the national cyberinfrastructure initiatives" and is aimed at facilitating networks and collaboration in various science disciplines.

"We want to give a platform to researchers to meet, discuss and combine the power of computing and data repository with fast networks," Sithole said.

The conference was preceded by a series of workshops with students from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate, including 11 students from other African countries.

Delivery

"We started the High Performance Centre Summer School with 48 students where they learn the basics of high performance computing. We provide these services to universities."

The costs of running programmes though, may compromise delivery of advanced technology in future.

"We have grant challenges in terms of science and technology, and there's an opportunity to make huge strides," Dr Daniel Moeketsi of the CHPC told News24.

He said that the conference showcased South African scientific work "across all disciplines".

"We're working toward deliverables and the SKA (Square Kilometre Array telescope) is an example, but we cannot rule out our peers in other countries," he said.

Sithole dismissed criticism that advanced science and technology was too far removed from the bread-and-butter issues that face ordinary South Africans.

"We see the benefits. Many students who don’t have access to technology have access with us. Science is quite an important investment and we see users coming from historically disadvantaged institutions."

The CHPC is a unit of the CSIR and funded by the department of science and technology. The conference ended on Thursday.


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