SARAO Scientist Receives Top Property Creator Award

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) congratulates Mr Simon Ratcliffe, Technical Lead Scientific Computing at SARAO for being awarded the distinguished Top Intellectual Property Creator Award for the National Research Foundation (NRF), by the National Intellectual Property Management Office in the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Simon was honoured in terms of actionable disclosures made to the Office of Technology Transfer between the period 01 April 2011 to 31 March 2018. In addition, Simon received a monetary contribution of R605 000 for the Office of Technology Transfer at SARAO, to convert Simon's innovations into a product, process or service with impact.

He was honoured by and received the award from the Minister of Science and Technology Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, during a ceremony hosted in Pretoria on 28 March 2019, citing the Certificate of Acknowledgement being handed to Simon for his Passion in ensuring that his research has practical application and seeks to result in an innovation that can be of benefit to the people of the Republic.

The Top Intellectual Creator Award is an initiative driven by the DST as an incentive to encourage South African Intellectual Property (IP) creators at public research institutions to disclose IP to their institution's Office of Technology Transfer to protect any IP before the research results are published.

The awards ceremony was held to recognise top IP creators' contribution to an innovation agenda intended to address the challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment and government outcomes like vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and food security for all, or an efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network.

Simon was nominated for his (co)-authorship of numerous Innovation Disclosures in High Performance Computing pertaining to the the 64-receptor MeerKAT radio telescope array, as well as co-authorship of a single patent family which is directed to a robust, high value compute solution.

He oversees the architecture and technical direction of science processing for the MeerKAT radio telescope situated on the SKA site outside Carnarvon in the Northern Cape. Within the context of the international SKA effort, he is involved in the development of the science data processor.

The data rates involved in the SKA will be in the 1000's of gigabits per second and will need to be processed in real-time. The SDP effort focuses on the design of the supercomputer-scale computing facility, computing hardware platforms, software, and algorithms needed to process the vast amounts of data output accepted from the correlator/beamformer on each telescope into final calibrated science data products.

I am very grateful for being acknowledged with this award. It is important that the world knows of the groundbreaking work that we do at SARAO, and to work on a world-class project such as MeerKAT offers us the ability to be at the forefront of creating applications for future technologies, said Simon.

Source: The National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF)

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