Science and Technology Facilities Council
Design completed for the 'brain' of the world's largest radio telescope
An international group of scientists led by the UK has finished designing the computing ‘brain’ of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio telescope.
Once operational, the SKA will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.
The SKA’s Science Data Processor (SDP) consortium, led by the University of Cambridge, has designed the elements that will together form the ‘brain’ of the SKA. SDP itself will be composed of two supercomputers, one located in Cape Town, South Africa and one in Perth, Australia, and its total compute power will be 25% faster than the current fastest supercomputer in the world.
“SDP is where data becomes information,” said Rosie Bolton, Data Centre Scientist for the SKA Organisation. “This is where we start making sense of the data and produce detailed astronomical images of the sky.”
To do this, SDP will need to ingest the data and move it through data reduction pipelines at staggering speeds, to then form data packages that will be copied and distributed to a global network of regional centres where it will be accessed by scientists around the world.
Maurizio Miccolis, SDP’s Project Manager for the SKA Organisation, said: “In total, up to 600 petabytes of data will be distributed around the world every year from SDP –enough to fill more than a million average laptops.”
In total, close to 40 institutions in 11 countries took part in the design of the SDP.
The UK government, through STFC, has committed £100m to the construction of SKA and for the global SKA Headquarters at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, as its share as a core member of the project.
Read more on the University of Cambridge website.
Latest News from
Science and Technology Facilities Council
UK team involved in successful project that has lowered Dark Matter Experiment's Central Component Nearly a Mile Underground30/10/2019 09:33:00
The largest direct-detection dark matter experiment in the U.S.A., and a project which involves numerous research and engineering teams from the UK, has reached its latest milestone when the crews at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota last week strapped the central component of LUX-ZEPLIN, (LZ) below an elevator and s-l-o-w-l-y lowered it 4,850 feet down a shaft formerly used in gold-mining operations.
Telescope instrument opens its 5,000 eyes for the first time29/10/2019 12:47:00
A leading-edge new telescope instrument, designed and built by an international collaboration including the UK, has today aimed its 5,000 fibre-optic eyes at the night sky for the first time.
STFC technicians awarded prestigious new Institute of Physics Technician Award25/10/2019 13:05:00
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) congratulates members of staff Emma Meehan, Ian East and Donna Wyatt on winning two categories in the first ever Institute of Physics Technicians Awards.
UK research challenges Martian ice theory25/10/2019 08:05:00
New research published yesterday from a UK-led team challenges the theory that landslides on Mars were caused by ice – despite scientists previously suggesting their presence provides unequivocal evidence of past ice on the red planet.
New STFC brand launched as part of unified UKRI identity10/10/2019 09:18:00
A new brand for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has been launched today as part of a unified identity for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Congratulations to astronomy and cosmology trio for Nobel Prize for Physics09/10/2019 12:05:00
STFC’s astronomy community congratulates the three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics: Professor James Peebles, Professor Michel Mayor and Professor Didier Queloz.
STFC partnership secures £250,000 funding for green hydrogen research08/10/2019 13:20:00
A project supported by STFC investigating how ammonia can be used to make hydrogen a sustainable energy source has been awarded £250,000 in government funding.
Decoding 2,000-year-old scrolls with Diamond Light Source04/10/2019 08:05:00
Ancient scrolls are being virtually “unwrapped” using the UK’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, combined with special techniques developed by a team from the University of Kentucky.