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    Sunday, 14 August 2016

    Perm Sec urges polytechnics to make use of $5,4m HPC


    – Tertiary institutions including polytechnic colleges must make use of the High Performance Computer (HPC) for high volume research housed at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Dr Machivenyika Mapuranga has said.
    Dr Mapuranga criticised tertiary institutions in the country for not making maximum use of the HPC which was installed at the University of Zimbabwe at a cost of $5,4 million .
    He also urged institutions to share their research information and not overprotect it in order to create shared results.
    He was speaking recently at a research conference hosted by Masvingo Polytechnic at a local hotel.
    The HPC is used for storage and efficient processing of data in the field of marketing, accounting, product development, tax, revenue collection and economic analysis among other functions.
    They also excel at solving compute-heavy research problems such as modelling or simulation of anything from weather, biochemist processes to nuclear explosions.
    He bemoaned the low use of the HPC by the institutions and added that this could reflect lack of appreciation of the computer.
    "The current uptake of this facility by our tertiary and higher education institutions is relatively low. This is an indication of either the lack of appreciation of its utility value or a demonstration of our carefree approach to research," complained Dr Mapuranga.
    The conference was attended by higher learning institutions from across the country.
    "I encourage Polytechnics and Universities to take advantage of the Ministry's HPC based at UZ. This facility is available to process high volume research data for high quality outputs," said Dr Mapuranga.
    The HPC was officially commissioned in February 2015 and was bought from Inspur Group, a Chinese company at a cost of $5.4 million and is believed to be the second one of its kind on the continent.
    He also encouraged researchers to provide solutions to various problems being faced by the country in order for research to be relevant and to also partner public and private players to optimise resource utilisation and skills transfer.
    The perm sec also discouraged researchers from over protection of information as it could have negative consequences in the long run.
    "As a Ministry we champion intellectual property rights for our researchers. Excessive protection of research information could on the other hand, be counterproductive in a scenario where information sharing could result in shared benefits. Collaboration is a worthwhile option in Research and Development initiatives," added Dr Mapuranga.
    The conference was held under the theme; Research and Industrial Innovation in Technical and Vocational Education; the 21st Century Scenario for Zimbabwe.
    The conference was mainly focusing on enhancing quality of TVET through research driven practices, generation of new knowledge and the translation of ideas into viable and tangible products and services, alignment to changing national and global technological dictates and creation of cutting edge industrial technological innovations.
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