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CSIR Unveils Petaflop Machine

June 9, 2016

Department of Science and Technology

The science and technology minister, Naledi Pandor, has congratulated the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the unveiling of its new petaflop machine.

The petaflop machine is a super computer with a processing speed capable of a thousand-trillion floating-point operations per second.

According to a statement, “floating-point operations per second, or flops, are used in computing to calculate extremely long numbers”.

The petaflop machine is the fastest computer on the African continent.

The minister described the launch as evidence of “our determination to be globally competitive in certain areas of science and to make the necessary investments, and of the competence of South African scientists and engineers to develop, implement and maintain such cutting-edge technologies”.

Some of the advantages of the new system include improved access for users to compute with such resources, ability to perform large-scale simulations, opening up new avenues for research and the potential to increase private sector participation in the CSIR’s Centre for High Performance Computing.

Meanwhile, the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill has been referred to the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) for comment.

The bill was published for comment in March 2015 and tabled in parliament in April 2016.

The proposed legislation aims to provide for:

• the protection, promotion, development and management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS);
• the setting up and functions of the National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office;
• the management of rights of indigenous knowledge holders;
• the establishment and functions of the Advisory Panel on IKS;
• access and conditions of access to knowledge of indigenous and local communities;
• the registration, accreditation and certification of indigenous knowledge practitioners; and
• the facilitation and coordination of indigenous knowledge systems-based innovation.

In a statement issued in 2014, the science and technology department emphasised that the draft bill sought to protect, promote, develop and manage IKS by means of sui generis legislation.

The department declared that the proposed legislation is expected to “pave the way for the protection of the vast treasure of South Africa’s indigenous knowledge, including local products like the well-known honeybush tea”.

The NHTL has 30 days in which to make any comments on the bill.