IBM’s Collaboration with ASTRON to Look Behind the Edges of the Universe

Author: Usman Zafar Paracha
Published: April 10, 2012 at 6:05 am

IBM has joined Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) for the five year DOME Project for looking ahead of the universe. It has been announced by the company on April 2. The project DOME is named for the protective cover on telescopes and the popular Swiss mountain.

The Company and the Institute will work together in this five years collaboration costing about 32.9 million Euros initially to develop the Exascale computer systems required to operate the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope of international Square Kilometre Array (SKA). This extremely fast Exascale computer system would be able to read, analyze and store almost one Exabyte of data daily that is about twice of the entire daily traffic on the World Wide Web at this time.

Ton Engbersen, IBM Research – Zurich explains, “If you take the current global daily Internet traffic and multiply it by two, you are in the range of the data set that the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope will be collecting every day. This is Big Data Analytics to the extreme. With DOME we will embark on one of the most data intensive science projects ever planned, which will eventually have much broader applications beyond radio astronomy research.”

This would be not only the fastest computer system but also low powered computer as the scientists have estimated that the processing power of the computer to operate the telescope will be equivalent to several millions’ of today’s computers.

“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,” said Marco de Vos, Managing Director of ASTRON.

The project is expected to be completed by 2024 and will enable the scientists to see the origins of the universe, evolving galaxies and dark matter beyond 13 billion light years of distance in the universe.

Suppose, scientists will successfully complete their project in 2024 and they will be able to see through the very far sides of the universe. What do you think, they will see?


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Article Author: Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha has been blogging in science and technology for more than 6 years. He is CEO of Email: Twitter: @jeepakistan

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