The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), through the India-Namibia Centre of Excellence in IT (INCEIT), houses a N$3 million super-fast computer called the Param !Arub.
The machine is currently operating on 17.7 TF (trillion floating-point operations per second), has one master node and four parallel computing nodes comprised of 5 320 cores that enable superfast operations with 480 GB of memory and 154 terabytes of storage space.
The word “!Arub” means cheetah in the Khoekhoegowab language and is quite befitting the super computer as Namibia is the cheetah capital of the world. The word ‘Param’ means ‘ultimate’ in the Indian Hindi language and when translated ‘Param !Arub’ then means ‘ultimate cheetah’.
According to the head of the INCEIT, Jain Arpit the name of the supercomputer fits perfectly as the multi-million-dollar machine operates at super-fast speeds that can serve the entire nation.
“Since the cheetah is also the fastest land animal, this correlation is linked to the speed of high-performance computing,” Arpit explained.
He added that the high-performance computer (HPC) is able to handle a massive amount of datasets, also known as big data. It also provides the high computational speeds
needed to conduct data analysis, spatial data visualisation, and predictive analysis using machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence techniques.
“The super computer is a high-performance computing device which has the ability to process gigantic amounts of data with multicore parallel processors to perform complex computations at high speeds. It supports cluster storage, data visualisation, enhanced graphical processing,” added Arpit.
The HPC is further armed with many scientific and research domain software applications through which many complex tasks of computation and analysis of performance can be evaluated.
The super computer was created by the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC) in India which is a technical arm of their Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
Arpit noted that the HPC was donated by the Indian government to the Namibian government under a bilateral agreement between two countries to boost research.
Currently, students and researchers at NUST are using the HPC, and the university is inviting ministries and industries to make use of the powerful machine.
The INCEIT was established to build the capacity in Namibia’s information communication technology sector with the help of advanced technology training and services as well as research exposure. Arpit stated that the programme acts as a finishing school, bridging the gap between industry and academia.
“The programmes are strategically tailored with the required technologies for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), such as information security and big data analytics powered by high-performance computing,” Arpit explained.
He added that with these programmes, expertise can be gained in the IT domain, with more practical exposure to deliver the requirements of specific organisations.
“With the hands-on application of the latest tools of big data technologies, professionals can transform their work with more efficient tools and platforms, and save time with enhanced security, which will add value to their organisations,” said Arpit. The INCEIT courses offer advanced programs and skill development and to date, more than 100 students have collectively been trained in the programmes since September 2019. “The programs offered at INCEIT are specially designed for working professionals allowing them to add the skillset needed to meet industry demand and at the same time continue to work on a full-time basis,” Arpit continued.
INCEIT is not limited to training only as the centre also offers advanced IT services in terms of software development, ethical hacking testing, and IT-related research.