CHPC National Conference 2019 Blog

Posted on 19 December, 2019

Boston South Africa along with staff from Boston HQ (UK) and Boston India came together in Johannesburg for the annual Centre for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) National Conference. The  CHPC provides leadership to South Africa and Africa on developing strong high-performance computing capabilities and supporting large-scale science projects.   



A Journey Into Soweto

We sent invitations to registered CHPC National Conference attendees to join us on a tour of Soweto a day before the opening keynote. As one of Boston’s newest markets, we wanted to show off the culture of South Africa and promote the talent coming out of the community.  

After a coach journey into Soweto, our guests walked the historic Vilakazi Street where we were met with street performers, impressive hand-made woodwork and unique artistic drawings. The tour guides shared the significance of the local area, more of which we found out later. 

The first landmark of the day was the Hector Pieterson Museum – a memorial museum erected in Hector's memory that covers the Anti-Apartheid Soweto Uprising and pays homage to the protesting school kids that lost their lives. An eye-opening experience for some of our visiting guests with no dry eyes. 

Mandela House was the other landmark on this trip. Before he was a well-known figure in the rally against apartheid, Nelson Mandela lived on Vilikazi street for over 15 years. Although refurbished for public visits, our guests still experienced the famous red-brick matchbox type house first-hand with bullet holes and scorched walls from attacks. Inside, the house still replicated the living conditions that Mandela would have faced with his family, showing a small bed where he slept in one of the rooms.  

At this point, our invitees were fully immersed in the heart-breaking history of Johannesburg – but we hadn’t finished there. 

A spectacular performance from talented Soweto residents and an African-themed dinner with South African wines, Jazz music and authentic local food rounded out the evening. Gemmerbier, Pap and Chakalaka were all part of the menu. 

“As a South African living in South Africa, it is easy to forget how far we've come as a country. Being a part of the Soweto trip not only brought back a lot of memories about our past but also educated me about our history. Thank you #TeamBoston for an enlightening tour of my own country!” - Anna, CSIR. 


The CHPC National Conference

Boston was welcomed to South Africa with a message of gratitude from CHPC Director, Dr Happy Sithole, during the keynote. The main theme for the show was Secure Cyber-Infrastructure within Fast Converging Platforms with related talks, seminars and workshops throughout the week. 

Our conference activities started with our Consultant Head of HPC delivering a fantastic section of the Vendor Crossfire - watch a short snippet here - alongside technology partners Mellanox, AMD and Intel with NVIDIA present. 

The main hall attraction throughout the week was the Student Cluster Competitions which saw students competing against each other in a series of challenges. We got to talk to some of them in-between the rounds – use the hashtag #BostonAtCHPC to see more! 


Systems On Show

Boston were to be positioned alongside technology partners AMD with the Boston Quattro 12256-T02 featuring 2nd Generation AMD EPYC on display. The flexibility and rich feature set of the Quattro makes it a great solution for high performance and high-density computing.

Our cloud partner, vScaler, also joined us on the booth which is powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable Family processors and Intel® SSDs. From HPC to Big Data, AI to Deep Learning, vScaler offers versatility so that you can create a bespoke private/hybrid cloud solution to maximise output for your workload. 


Boston Training Academy

It was a simple decision to host Boston Training Academy (BTA) workshops and talks at the CHPC National Conference with a substantial student and academic professional presence and the final day dedicated to workshops.

Our trainer from India, Krishna Mouli, lead our NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute course to develop attendee skills for a Certification in Computer Vision. We’re excited to announce that at least 25 of our attendees were certified through the course! 

Boston consultant Head of HPC, David Power, also delivered an HPC on OpenStack workshop where attendees were taken through setting up an OpenStack environment from scratch, spun up a virtualised HPC environment and ran containerised workloads on there.

Get in touch with our team if you'd like to know more about anything you read above!

Tags: CHPC, Centre for High-Performance Computing, South Africa, Johannesburg, Events, 2019, NVIDIA, Intel, Mellanox, AMD, Supermicro

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