SA has taken another major step towards being a world leader in big data analysis, with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation joining forces with science juggernaut the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) last week. On Thursday, the SKA radio telescope project — 70% of which will by hosted in the Northern Cape — signed an agreement with Cern’s European laboratory for particle physics on a collaboration in extreme-scale computing. When it is complete‚ the SKA will produce about 3‚000 petabytes of data each year‚ more than 10 times what Cern has produced in the last seven years through its particle accelerator‚ the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). One petabyte is equivalent to 1-million gigabytes (GB) and the SKA will generate enough data to fill 4.5-million standard 4.7GB DVDs a day. The agreement establishes a framework for collaborative projects that addresses joint challenges in approaching exascale computing (computing systems capable of at least one exaFLOPS, o...

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