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Astron, IBM to Explore Origins of the Universe

Astron, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have announced an initial 32.9 million EURO, five-year collaboration to research extremely fast, but low-power exascale computer systems targeted for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The SKA is an international project to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Scientists estimate that the processing power required to operate the telescope will be equal to several millions of today’s fastest computers.

The planned computer system will be targeted to read, analyze and store one exabyte of raw data per day, two times the entire daily traffic on the World Wide Web.

On its faster computing initiatives, IBM has also introduced a prototype optical chipset, dubbed “Holey Optochip.” It is claimed to be the first parallel optical transceiver to transfer one trillion bits – one terabit – of information per second, the equivalent of downloading 500 high-definition movies. (Read: IBM Holey Optochip to Run Future Supercomputers)

[ Also Read: Rutgers-IBM Computing Center to Manage Big Data ]

Astron is one of the leading scientific partners in the international project that is developing the SKA. Upon completion in 2024, the telescope will be used to explore evolving galaxies, dark matter and even the very origins of the universe—dating back more than 13 billion years.

To solve this challenge, Astron and IBM scientists in the Netherlands and Switzerland have launched an initial five-year collaboration called DOME, named for the protective cover on telescopes and the famous Swiss mountain.

[ Also Read: Small is the New Beautiful for IBM; Now in Poland ]

DOME will investigate emerging technologies for large-scale and efficient exascale computing, data transport and storage processes, and streaming analytics that will be required to read, store and analyze all the raw data that will be collected daily.

Scientists from both organizations will collaborate at the newly established Astron & IBM Center for Exascale Technology in Drenthe, the Netherlands. IBM made this announcement today, April 2.

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