To rise to the challenges of the new big data era, the research community must develop new infrastructure, tools and approaches that enable collaborative research among distributed teams around an ecosystem of big data. The ARC will be the solution for a network of South African, African and very likely non-African researchers.
The ARC will allow researchers in Africa and their collaborators to access research data storage and compute facilities from anywhere in the world, while ensuring the data lives in Africa and remains the intellectual property of scientists on the continent. It will combine distributed data storage, compute resources, other cyber infrastructure, and skills development among the partners into a seamless research and development platform.
“The initiative is a first for Africa and will be a real benefit to researchers on the continent,” says Sakkie Janse van Rensburg, UCT’s executive director of Information Communication Technology Services (ICTS). “Big data has added a new dimension to the research process across all disciplines. Before the launch of this data centre, researchers struggled to manage data-heavy information, with significant challenges when it came to storing it in a way that could be quickly accessed, analysed, visualised and shared."