Dell has revealed a supercomputer at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Cape Town, South Africa, aimed at stimulating research and the private sector economy in the nation. The machine, nicknamed Lengau, which means “cheetah” in Tswana, is the fastest on the continent, according to the company.
“When we started in 2007, we took inspiration from the fastest animals in the land and named our first high-performance computing system iQudu, Xhosa for kudu, which boasted 2.5 teraflops, which is 2.5 trillion operations per second,” said Happy Sithole, director for the Center for High Performance Computing at the council.
The 40,000-core 19 rack system has the capability to store 5PB. With its high capacity and rapid operating system, it can help facilitate new research, according to a report in African Enterprise.
While the supercomputer may be the fastest on the continent, it is not the fastest in the world, a title that was held by China’s Tianhe-2 for the fifth consecutive year in a row in 2015. Having the fastest supercomputer has become something of a point of pride for international powers, and U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order in 2015 to have the fastest supercomputer built by 2025.
South Africa has looked to expand its high-tech sector in the past several years as an attempt to stimulate the private sector and draw investors. Tech startups have begun to blossom in South Africa, and Johannesburg-based Capital Eye Investments was looking for $100 million to move to private equity with the goal of investing in the technology sector, according to a May report in Quartz.
News of the supercomputer came as returns from the first quarter of the year showed the South African economy had sunk more than previously predicted and was possibly headed toward a recession, Reuters reported Wednesday. Economic output fell by 1.2 percent, as a result of an 18-percent slump on the mining sector.