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International Square Kilometre Array  (Source:
The idea is to develop fast, but low-power exascale computer systems for the international Square Kilometre Array

IBM has partnered with ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, for a five-year, 32.9 million euro ($43.8 million USD) venture to develop efficient exascale computer systems for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

ASTRON is one of the top developers of SKA, which is an international consortium to create the world's largest, ultra-sensitive radio telescope. The new SKA telescope is estimated to be completed in 2024, and will explore dark matter, evolving galaxies and even the origins of the universe. IBM said the amount of processing power needed for the telescope to function will be several millions of today's fastest and most powerful computers.

To reach that amount of computing power, the new SKA telescope will need technology and data transfer links that reaches far beyond what is available today. At the same time, it's important for SKA's exascale computer systems to be fast, yet low-power. To achieve these goals, ASTRON has agreed to collaborate with IBM for five years and 32.9 million euro ($43.8 million USD).

The partnership, which is called DOME to reflect the famous Swiss mountain as well as the cover on telescopes, aims to research technologies capable of handling exascale computing, storage processes and data transport on a large scale, but that is also energy efficient. More specifically, IBM and ASTRON will look into advanced accelerators and 3D stacked chips as well as new optical interconnect technologies and nanophotonics for both efficient computing and large data transfers. As far as storage goes, revolutionary tape systems and phase-change memory tech will be researched.

"If you take the current global daily Internet traffic and multiply it by two, you are in the range of the data set that the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope will be collecting every day," said Ton Engbersen of IBM Research. "This is Big Data Analytics to the extreme. With DOME, we will embark on one of the most dataintensive science projects ever planned, which will eventually have much broader applications beyond radio astronomy research."

Between ASTRON's experience with SKA and IBM's research and methodologies regarding realistic, yet powerful and efficient computer systems, the DOME partnership is expected to make the new SKA telescope a reality. DOME received funding from the Netherlands, the Province of Drenthe, and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.

"Large research infrastructures like the SKA require extremely powerful computer systems to process all the data," said Marco de Vos, Managing Director of ASTRON. "The only acceptable way to build and operate these systems is to dramatically reduce their power consumption. DOME gives us unique opportunities to try out new approaches in Green Supercomputing. This will be beneficial for society at large as well."

Source: IBM

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RE: The mother of innovation
By Pirks on 4/2/2012 9:49:30 PM , Rating: 0
To bring radical new technologies into play, a huge scientific project like this radio telescope are necessary
Nah, those projects will never bring new cool tech down to consumer level. You need a design/tech genius like Steve Jobs to transformn this new tech into something consumers will buy. You need someone like Apple who push boundaries of mobile tech by cramming ever more powerful and ever more cool mobile tech in their gadgets. If there's no design genius behind the new tech - noone but a few geeks will buy it and it will stagnate and die. Just look at pathetic state of Windows tablets these days for an illustration of this. All new cool tech won't save them, noone would ever buy them until there's someone liek Jobs who applies proper UI to them, THEN consumers rush in, THEN new investments start to be doen in the development of new tech consumers WANT.

This is the proper cycle of innovation. Make something people WANT to buy, use profits to invest into new cool tech. Not vice versa. Making "cool" Windows tablets no one wants to buy and investing into new tablet tech won't bring you anything but stagnation. Just ask MS!

RE: The mother of innovation
By titanmiller on 4/2/2012 11:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
Please never type "noone" again. Thank you.

RE: The mother of innovation
By connor4312 on 4/3/2012 3:04:50 AM , Rating: 2
Your post is ridiculous. For example, where do you think the Internet came from? Projects like this. The internet was originally developed as a scientific project for the military. I dunno about you, but IMHO the internet is now a consumer level technology.

Moral of the story: No one likes a fanboy.

RE: The mother of innovation
By Pirks on 4/3/2012 12:13:40 PM , Rating: 1
where do you think the Internet came from
From UI/design visionaries similar to Steve Jobs, for instance one of them is Jeff Bezos. Who would use your "internet" without nice UI layer on top of it, like Amazon? No one.

Moral of the story: don't be dumb, look beyond bits, bytes and network switches.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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