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IBM Space Science

IBM Designing Superman Servers For World's Largest Telescope 67

Nerval's Lobster writes "How's this for a daunting task? By 2017, IBM must develop low-power microservers that can handle 10 times the traffic of today's Internet — and resist blowing desert sands, to boot. Sound impossible? Hopefully not. Those are the design parameters of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Project, the world's largest radio telescope, located in South Africa and Australia amid some of the world's most rugged terrain. It will be up to the SKA-specific business unit of South Africa's National Research Foundation, IBM, and ASTON (also known as the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) to jointly design the servers. Scientists from all three organizations will collaborate remotely and at the newly established ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology in Drenthe, the Netherlands. By peering into the furthest regions of space, the SKA project hopes to glimpse 'back in time,' where the radio waves from some of the earliest moments of the universe — before stars were formed — are still detectable. The hardware is powerful enough to pick up an airport radar on a planet 50 light-years away, according to the SKA team."
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IBM Designing Superman Servers For World's Largest Telescope

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  • 26 petabytes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @07:29PM (#43154375)
    Is internet traffic really only 26 Petabytes a month, while that is a big number it sounds awefully low to me as the place I work does 15 Terabytes a month and they are little more than a miniscule pimple on face of the internet.
  • Re:sensitive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @08:38PM (#43154895)

    One big obstacle is, as with SETI, not merely gathering super-sensitive data, but processing all the data to identify E.T.'s air traffic control in trillions of other (natural) radio sources. Just because you're sensitive enough to tell whether a signal is present or absent *when you know exactly what to look for* doesn't mean you'll be able to identify previously unknown signals.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"