The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) has launched a new visualisation facility at the University of Cape Town: a shared space where astronomers from around the country can explore their data – and find answers to some of the biggest questions about our universe.
As a partner in the African Research Cloud and the Inter-University Institute for Data-Intensive Astronomy, UCT is home to some powerful computing facilities. These facilities, which allow researchers to work with enormous sets of data, are helping us to prepare for the era of big-data science.
When Associate Professor Adam West from the Department of Biological Sciences began using drones to collect data from his fynbos study plots, he was confronted by a big-data problem. The customised drones were efficient and collected data easily, but they collected a lot of it – more than could be processed timeously by his laboratory’s computers. West reached out to the team at UCT eResearch for support.
Demand for skills at the interface between technology and information is growing and demand already far exceeds supply. This is particularly the case in Africa. To respond to demand, UCT launched two new postgraduate programmes to foster a generation equipped with the skills to meet this need.