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World's Most Massive Supercomputer Needed For Colossal Space Telescope


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SKA telescope

The SKA telescope will generally include 3,000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies dishes spread over a collecting area of about 3,000 kilometers.

Credit: Network World

The International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), a collaboration between Curtin University and the University of Western Australia, is working with the Canadian Astronomical Data Center to develop systems that will work with the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope project.

The telescope will include 3,000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies spread over a collecting area of about 3,000 kilometers, making it up to 100 times more sensitive than existing radio telescopes.

The SKA project will generate one exabyte of raw data a day, according to ICRAR. "We're not just facing challenges in storing all that data but processing it into something useful," says ICRAR professor Andreas Wicenec. "Even powering a computer big enough to manage the huge task needs to be researched and developed."

ICRAR is currently trying to determine which parts of the SKA computing system would be most costly to build and operate. SKA director Brian Boyle says the project reflects the evolution of telescopes toward supercomputers. "The supercomputer is as much a part of the telescope as is the antenna," Boyle notes.

From Network World
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