first_imgIBM has just been awarded a contract that challenges the company to handle an exabyte of data every single day. To put that in context, the Internet currently handles around 499 Petabytes of data every day. An exabyte is 1,024 Petabytes, meaning more than double the data.The reason this exascale system is required is to support the largest and most sensitive radio telescope being developed by the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) consortium. The SKA is set to come online in 2024 and will be capable of collecting multiple exabytes of data from a telescope 50x more sensitive than anything that has gone before.IBM has teamed up with Astron for a 5 year project called DOME to figure out how to handle such a large quantity of data. Not only does an exabyte of data need to be processed by a computer every day, but analysis and storage of that data is required too.This state-of-the-art system needs groundbreaking technology. IBM is already talking about 3D chip stacking, water cooling systems, optical interconnects, nanophotonics, and new tape and phase change memory as possible ways to achieve throughput of this much data. At the same time the team has to keep power consumption to a minimum, meaning this is an exercise in green supercomputing, too.Over the coming 5 years research will be carried out into the system at the new Astron & IBM Center for Exascale Technology in Drenthe. Along the way we are sure to see a number of breakthroughs in computing power that hopefully eventually filter down to the computers we all use on a daily basis.As for the SKA, when that comes online scientists around the world should get new insight into the origins of the universe. We will be able to see more of the observable universe, as well as answering questions in the fields of astrophysics and cosmology.Read more at IBMlast_img

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