More than 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 calculations – in a second.
At one million trillion, it will have to be the work rate of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope’s supercomputer to process the gigantic data loads the telescope will produce, said Simon Ratcliffe of SKA South Africa.
“The final SKA will have one of the largest and most sophisticated supercomputers on the planet when it is complete,” he said, placing South Africa at the forefront of high-performance computing development.
The telescope will help answer questions such as how the first stars and galaxies formed after the big bang, how gravity works and whether there is life on other planets.
In May last year it was decided that construction of the world’s largest radio telescope would be split between South Africa and Australia. Nine other countries are contributing to the project. In the first phase the telescope will be built between 2016 and 2023 near Carnarvon. Fully functioning in a decade’s time, it is expected to be 50 times more sensitive than any radio telescope.
“The SKA will be a truly massive data generator,” said Ratcliffe, an astronomer and engineer. “The scientific data produced by the telescope will need to be distributed to interested scientists and processing centres around the globe. International capacity needed from South Africa will be of the order of 100 gigabits per second or more.”
Huge data processing centres would have to be built in the Northern Cape. “The largest will be in the Karoo. The raw data rates are so large that the cost of moving this data to Cape Town or beyond is prohibitive.”
The supercomputer would process the data to reduce its volume, before sending it to other facilities.
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Square Kilometre Array
- South Africa slashes science budget, funds for giant radio telescopeon June 25, 2020 at 11:40 am
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THE WORLD'S largest telescope will be based at Western Australia's CSIRO's Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory with the project expected to give a much needed boost to the State economy.
- Preparations complete in western Australia for construction of world's largest telescopeon June 10, 2020 at 5:59 am
has completed its preparations for the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Western Australia, which will begin next year. One hundred thirty thousand individual radio antennas ...
- Square Kilometre Array: preparations complete for WA section of world’s biggest telescopeon June 10, 2020 at 2:03 am
The ‘Square Kilometre Array’ (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, eventually having more than a square kilometre (one million square metres ...
- WA radio telescope preparations completeon June 10, 2020 at 1:27 am
After seven years of design and prototype development, construction of Western Australia's Square Kilometre Array is drawing closer with work to start next year.
- WA radio telescope preparations completeon June 9, 2020 at 5:58 pm
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