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June 1, 2011

SKA Finds New Beat with SETI Model

Nicole Hemsoth

It’s one thing to claim you have the ideal location for the world’s largest radio telescope, but it’s another matter entirely to claim you have the raw crunch-power needed to handle the massive data demands.

In its effort to secure the rights to the $2.1 billion Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Australia is beefing up its efforts to prove it has the compute might required to tackle the deluge. According to reports, there is a broad initiative between Australia and New Zealand to leverage cloud computing to create a workable environment for the vast amount of scientific data. If this plan is realized it would create the largest scientific cloud computing network in the world, accessing the computing power of desktop users everywhere.

According to the Oxford researchers who are considering data management solutions, even in 2020 before full completion of the SKA, the instrument will be pumping out so much data that only viable option would be to distribute the work across every desktop available. They note that using a cloud resource like Amazon would be far too expensive, even just as a source of storage.

Call it cloud, call it grid, call it SETI—the effort is gaining serious traction in Australia. According to SKA officials, “the SKA could need data links with a capacity greater than that of the current Internet—the whole Internet.” As PopSci reported, “Australia is already sinking $8- million into the Pawsey Center in Western Australia, a supercomputing hub that will be petaflop-capable and the third fastest supercomputing the world when it comes online in 2013 based on today’s rankings.”

Full story at PopSci