Here are summaries of some of the great articles in this edition:
African AI start-up hits international headlines with Covid early warning system
AI disruptor InstaDeep, made international headlines last month after it co-developed an AI-powered early warning system for high-risk Covid variants with BioNTech. The start-up was founded in 2014 in North Africa. Today, it is a leader in decision-making AI products, with a headquarters in London and AI research and engineering teams in Cape Town, Tunis, Paris, Lagos, and Dubai.
In South Africa’s AI landscape, InstaDeep is led Stellenbosch University graduate Arnu Pretorius . The company occupies a very unique space, blending engineering and research, while having a positive impact on the world. “We also see ourselves as playing an important role in the larger AI community when it comes to strengthening connections, upskilling and providing opportunities for learning. Examples of these efforts include our close collaboration with the Deep Learning Indaba, an organisation dedicated to building Africa’s AI community, where we sit on the steering committee as well as participating.”
New MeerKAT radio image reveals complex heart of the Milky Way
The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has published a new MeerKAT telescope image of the centre of our galaxy, showing radio emission from the region with unprecedented clarity and depth. The international team behind the work is publishing the initial science highlights from this image in The Astrophysical Journal. The article is accompanied by a public release of the data to the worldwide astronomical community for their further scientific exploration. The image captures radio emission from numerous phenomena, including outbursting stars, stellar nurseries and the chaotic region around the four million solar mass supermassive black hole that lurks in the centre of our galaxy, 25,000 light years from Earth.
Why millimetre wave requires a different approach to DPD and how to quantify its value
In the 5G New Radio standard, millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies, in addition to sub-6 GHz frequencies, are utilised to enhance throughput. The use of mmWave frequencies provides unique opportunities for a drastic increase in data throughput while presenting new implementation challenges. This article explores architectural differences between sub-6 GHz and mmWave base station radios, with particular emphasis on the challenges and benefits of implementing digital predistortion (DPD) on these systems. While digital is a well established technique commonly used in sub-6 GHz wireless communication systems to improve the power efficacy, most mmWave radios do not use DPD. Using a prototype 256 element mmWave array, built with ADI beam formers and transceivers, we are able to demonstrate that DPD improves the effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) by up to 3 dB. This allows for a 30% reduction in the number of array elements, relative to an array without DPD, for the same target EIRP.
The article draws a comparison between a traditional sub-6 GHz macro-cellular and a mmWave base station radio and antenna design. It further covers how these design differences impact DPD implementation in mmWave arrays relative to sub-6 GHz radios.
Hello SASE. Goodbye SD-WAN
The working environment has been irrevocably changed over the past two years, and the debate rages on as to whether we’ll ever go back to a pre-COVID setup. Certain organisations like PwC have made decisive moves, with the accounting and consulting firm announcing earlier this year that all of its 40,000 US client services employees would be able to work virtually, from anywhere, permanently. Other major accounting firms, including Deloitte and KPMG, have followed suit, providing staff with the option to continue to work remotely into the future.
In South Africa, it seems – at least for now – that many businesses are considering a hybrid approach to working, giving employees a degree of flexibility, with certain days designated as in-office ‘face time’ days and others as work-from-home days. Farmers too have had to modify their day-to-day operations, where possible changing the way in which they interact with suppliers, clients and staff, explains Hardus Dippenaar, senior network architect at Datacentrix, a hybrid IT systems integrator and managed services provider. Speaking at Datacentrix’ Agri Indaba event, Dippenaar added that regardless of what a company’s decision is in the shorter term around a hybrid approach to work. In the article he highlights several considerations that must be taken into account.