…Data-intensive research, or big data technology, has come to Africa by way of the stars: the establishment of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pointed to the need for the continent to be able to analyze the extremely high volumes of data to be generated by the network of telescope dishes that will ultimately be placed across remote regions of southern Africa.

The SKA project is an internationally renowned effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope with more than a square kilometer of collecting area. It is one of the largest scientific endeavors in history and drives one of the world’s most significant big data challenges of the coming decade.

Three South Africa-based universities involved in the SKA project—North-West University, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC)—established a partnership in 2015 to form the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDiA)…

Big data is starting to open R&D opportunities for African scientists