Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
April 03, 2012
Plans are currently underway for development of the world’s most powerful radio telescope. The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will consist of roughly 3,000 antennae located in Southern Africa or Australia; its final location may be decided later this month. The heart of this system, however, will include one of the world’s fastest supercomputers.
The array is quite demanding of both data storage and processing power. It is expected to generate an exabyte of data per day and require a multi-exaflops supercomputer to process it. Rebecca Boyle of Popsci wrote an article about the telescope’s computing demands, estimating that such a machine would have to deliver between two to thirty exaflops.
Currently, the fastest computer on the Top500 list, the Japanese K computer, can perform 10.51 petaflops on Linpack. To reach the minimum estimated compute requirement for the SKA, a system would need to perform nearly 285 times faster than that system. For such a supercomputer to exist, substantial advancements in both processing power and reductions in power consumption will be required.
There is still time to develop this technology, as the SKA is not expected to begin operation until 2024. Most experts estimate the exascale barrier to be broken before that time. It’s with this focus that IBM and ASTRON, a Netherlands-based radio astronomy institute, have partnered up in a five-year 32.9 million Euro project to develop a system capable of supporting the SKA. The collaboration is named DOME, after the cover for telescopes and the Swiss mountain.
Research will take place at the new ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology in Drenthe, the Netherlands. Some of the technologies that will be researched there include 3D stacked chips, advanced accelerators, optical interconnects and nanophotonics. Marco de Vos, Managing Director of ASTRON described how answering challenges presented by the SKA would lead to greener technology:
“Large research infrastructures like the SKA require extremely powerful computer systems to process all the data. The only acceptable way to build and operate these systems is to dramatically reduce their power consumption. DOME gives us unique opportunities to try out new approaches in Green Supercomputing. This will be beneficial for society at large as well.”
Since the SKA is in still in the planning phases, researchers at the exascale facility will test their designs on the existing low-frequency array (LOFAR). LOFAR was built by ASTRON and uses some of the same technology that will be incorporated into the SKA.
The technical requirements for the SKA are certainly challenging from a computational point of view. Research and development for the project will most likely generate advancements in low-power computing and storage technologies that will have applications in supercomputers around the world. Beyond requiring new innovations in computing, this will be the most powerful telescope of its kind ever developed.
Contributing commentator, Andrew Jones, offers a break in the news cycle with an assessment of what the national "size matters" contest means for the U.S. and other nations...
Today at the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzing, Germany, Jack Dongarra presented on a proposed benchmark that could carry a bit more weight than its older Linpack companion. The high performance conjugate gradient (HPCG) concept takes into account new architectures for new applications, while shedding the floating point....
Not content to let the Tianhe-2 announcement ride alone, Intel rolled out a series of announcements around its Knights Corner and Xeon Phi products--all of which are aimed at adding some options and variety for a wider base of potential users across the HPC spectrum. Today at the International Supercomputing Conference, the company's Raj....
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
Join HPCwire Editor Nicole Hemsoth and Dr. David Bader from Georgia Tech as they take center stage on opening night at Atlanta's first Big Data Kick Off Week, filmed in front of a live audience. Nicole and David look at the evolution of HPC, today's big data challenges, discuss real world solutions, and reveal their predictions. Exactly what does the future holds for HPC?
Join our webinar to learn how IT managers can migrate to a more resilient, flexible and scalable solution that grows with the data center. Mellanox VMS is future-proof, efficient and brings significant CAPEX and OPEX savings. The VMS is available today.