The fourth industrial revolution is underway with the promise of faster and smarter data. This brings with it a new breed of intelligent machines that can solve complex problems at lightning speed.
With the backing of high-performance computing, these machines can leverage big data analytics and deep learning applications to forecast, resolve and reshape our businesses, economies and lives.
Africa is on the verge of waking up to the huge possibilities that High Performance Computing can open up for the continent in terms of research, job creation and ultimately growth.
Data is the new oil and High Performance Computing is the refinery for this data & the use of High Performance Computing is crucial in driving research and actualization in different sectors for accelerated growth in Kenya
So what exactly High Performance Computing?
This is the aggregation of computing power to achieve higher performance than a single computing device otherwise would. High Performance Computing makes possible the harnessing of data, advancing of research and drawing of insights.
HPC will impact just about every aspect of every day living. Health, food security, energy, economic research, SMEs etc., and most of all enable Africa to collaborate further with other parts of the world.
In South Africa, HPC was formulated in 2006, started by a group of researchers that came up with a proposal for a Centre for HPC. After the launch, was subsequently supported by the South African Research Network to connect researchers from a number of universities and research councils and to enable South African researchers to contribute to regional and international research efforts. The two bodies formed what is known as the South African Cyberinfrastructure.
In Kenya, the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in partnership with the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) and Intel are champion development and harnessing of HPC and its benefits in the African continent.
Under the umbrella of the High Performance Computing Consortium-Africa (HPC2-Africa) the partners will provide a platform through which key stakeholders such as universities, technology companies, industry, government, research bodies and development partners will help establish a network of HPCs across Africa.
Some of the benefits that we are to see from this network of HPCs include:
Transmitting and analysis of big data from big historical events. For example, during the election period, there were many forms which were to be transmitted and analysed that would have been done much more efficiently through high performance computing.
The development of IoT applications such as the car early warning system for road signs that can help prevent accidents and help control the use of roads.
Taking the management of pollution into our hands: Data from air quality monitoring sensors can be used to map out highly polluted areas. The results can then inform Governments as they plan cities or kick off efforts for low carbon emissions.
Food security in Africa can also be a dream come true with the use of HPCs. By predicting weather accurately, countries can be able to make long term food security policies even as we try and tackle climate change through climate research.
The advancement of gene sequencing, molecular research and bio-physical simulations which can all support development of effective medicine and vaccines for diseases like Malaria and HIV in Africa currently ravaging Africa. HPCs can help researchers explore Africa’s abundance of natural remedies.
However, for these changes to be seen, significant growth in the infrastructure will have to be realized as we can see with the partnership between USIU Africa, the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) and Intel. In return, these investments will be reciprocated with significant benefits accruing to socio-economic development for Kenya.