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Three-Mile-High Supercomputer Poses Unique Challenges

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the hamsters-have-trouble-at-that-altitude dept.

Supercomputing 80

Nerval's Lobster writes "Building and operating a supercomputer at more than three miles above sea level poses some unique problems, the designers of the recently installed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Correlator discovered. The ALMA computer serves as the brains behind the ALMA astronomical telescope, a partnership between Europe, North American, and South American agencies. It's the largest such project in existence. Based high in the Andes mountains in northern Chile, the telescope includes an array of 66 dish-shaped antennas in two groups. The telescope correlator's 134 million processors continually combine and compare faint celestial signals received by the antennas in the ALMA array, which are separated by up to 16 kilometers, enabling the antennas to work together as a single, enormous telescope, according to Space Daily. The extreme high altitude makes it nearly impossible to maintain on-site support staff for significant lengths of time, with ALMA reporting that human intervention will be kept to an absolute minimum. Data acquired via the array is archived at a lower-altitude support site. The altitude also limited the construction crew's ability to actually build the thing, requiring 20 weeks of human effort just to unpack and install it."

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Get it through your thick skulls. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42476791)

We are sick of science. Get back to video games, comic books and film reviews. I'm sick of seeing this science crap. Look and see what articles get the most posts. It's not science. It's entertainment and political bickering. Stop wasting front page space with this garbage.
 
If I wanted science I woud watch the science channel.

Re:Get it through your thick skulls. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477169)

It's okay. No one posts anything useful anyway. The more thought-provoking and interesting the science subject, the more idiots that go for a +5 funny mod. No more does anyone post anything intelligent to this site.

Face it, the slashdot of a decade ago is long gone.

Re:Get it through your thick skulls. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477559)

Why downmod to -1? This is truthful and can be backed up just by looking at archived science stories compared to the ones of now. He didn't say anything offensive, and the last sentence is self-evident and redundant. Obviously something today will not be the same as a decade ago.

Just goes to show how bad the moderation system on this site is. People downmod because they disagree. Though, I suspect this mod was from one of the editors who have unlimited "mod points".

Re:Get it through your thick skulls. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477921)

it's so cute to see an anon pretend to be multiple people

Re:Get it through your thick skulls. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479769)

Are you the same AC replying to intelligent posts below, telling them to stop posting intelligent posts? Are you trying to scare them away to force your prophesy to be true? Saying something sucks when you are the one trying, quite poorly, to make it suck doesn't make you right (or the succkage "self-evident"), it just makes you an ass.

Redundancy! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42476817)

Simple answer: Have redundancy all over the place so it doesn't matter if a few modules fail. The repair crew can go in once a year and swap them.

Re:Redundancy! (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42477109)

I don't think the article mentioned redundancy either day... but consider what they did: they took pre-manufactured components, hauled them up 15,000 feet and installed them... not set them up. I'm sure somewhere in this process short of hiring ALL first year grads they most likely introduced typical datacenter redundancies... load balancing, failover, arrays, etc...

The article is about the challenges posed with operating the components at such a high altitude and for people who aren't used to high altitudes, they really can't work effectively up there limiting the pool of tech support personnel you can send up there significantly.

Re:Redundancy! (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42477373)

Clusters don't do load balancing in the sense that a datacenter would and the nodes don't fail over (but the switches probably should in this case). If a node fails, it gets turned off and the cluster i slightly less powerful until it is replaced.

Re:Redundancy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42478011)

Maybe your clusters.

But not everyone else's.

Re:Redundancy! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42479465)

If the hardware is in the rack, why would you idle it?

Re:Redundancy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42503867)

someone as retarded as the GP apparently.

Actually, to be fair, the GPs comment is valid for hardware other than the computers themselves. Then again, given that the GGP's comment was regarding nodes, the GP is still an idiot.

Re:Redundancy! (3, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42477945)

Great, now I need a new skill:

IT sherpas needed for new datacenter.

Re:Redundancy! (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42477929)

The only IT related things from the actual article are:

Use SSDs.
Use bigger fans.

Seems kind of a waste to not put that in the blathering summary.

Re:Redundancy! (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42478687)

Or if they're having trouble finding a sysadmin, I'm available. My Spanish is decent and I have extensive experience in avoiding physical activity thus reducing the need for oxygen. Email address above!

Toughen the fuck up! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42476829)

OH! It's so high up! I think I'm going to faint... Ooooh...

What a bunch of pussies. Construction workers.. bah! Sound more like interior decorators... if you get my drift...

Altitude Sickness... (2)

michael_rendier (2601249) | about 2 years ago | (#42476837)

Drove three of my friends over Tioga Pass in the Sierra Nevada's in the north of Yosemite...couple of them had never been out of Louisiana...between 8000 and the summit of the pass at ~10,000 ft meant me driving while everyone else suffered from altitude sickness...the only cure is to remove to a lower elevation. Having grown up in the sierras, i was used to the elevation...but if you're not acclimated, then you're going to walk 20 feet and have to sit down to rest for 10 minutes.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42476949)

Mauna Loa is about 13,000ft above sea level at the peak. I was the only one that didn't have a problem breathing, but our rental SUV barely made it up... it was choking on the thin oxygen most of the last quarter of the way up. Might be one of the reasons we weren't supposed to go up the mountain according to our rental agreement.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#42477145)

It's the fuel/air *mixture*. As you go up in altitude, you're getting a lesser volume of air, but the same amount of fuel. Modern injection systems do a better job of adjusting for air pressure, but your engine still needs to be tuned for the altitude it's going to run at. I used to live in Reno (4500 ft) and every time I drove down to San Fransisco (sea level, obviously), my car would run like crap. In town, I'd always see California cars belching smoke from all the unburned fuel in the exhaust.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477505)

Bullshit. Unless you're still using a carbeurator, your car has (probably 2) O2 sensors in a closed loop system to adjust the fuel air mixture. It also has a mass airflow sensor in open loop to drive the injectors. Now, your boat with carbeurator will run like shit in Pueblo or Tahoe unles retuned, but engine computers are designed to adjust specifically for this. Cars without turbos will lose a significant amount of power due to density altitude, but they don't "need to be tuned for the altitude"

Re:Altitude Sickness... (5, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42477711)

I think you misunderstand how it really works.

Modern cars have air mass sensors -- they sense exactly how much air is coming into the engine, no matter what the pressure of the air is. This control is instantaneous, there's no adjustment period. The amount of fuel injected into the air is based only one the air mass and some slowly adapted tuning constants. The "lesser volume of air, same amount of fuel" assertion is completely untrue!

So, you may ask, what if the relative partial pressure of oxygen in the air dropped with altitude -- that would be a problem, as the car only senses the air mass, not oxygen mass. It has to adapt the fuel amount relative to amount of air only based on the readings from the exaust oxygen sensor. This is not instantaneous -- the oxygen sensor readings are in effect low-pass filtered and affect the air-fuel mix very slowly, with time constants, I'd guess, on the order of an hour. Here's the good news: the relative partial pressure of oxygen stays pretty much constant at altitudes where there are roads. So it's not a problem.

Your car has a problem of some sort, what you describe is not normal behavior.

I was driving in a turbocharged car in the Alps and there were no performance problems related to altitude changes -- the absolute boost pressure was maintained by the ECU per throttle commands and load factor, as desired, delivering apparently same mass of air to the engine, at given load, as at sea level. This worked even on some of the highest paved roads out there. Even if there was no compressor in the intake, the engine would simply lose performance with altitude, but recover it without any undue effects when driving down.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 2 years ago | (#42478073)

Who says he rented something even remotely new to drive up the mountain?

Re:Altitude Sickness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42481953)

Rental cars don't last very long. Rental agencies usually replace their fleet every year because the cars are wearing out -- it's not unusual for a car to accumulate 80,000-plus miles in a single year.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42478331)

Can you describe this with a car analogy?

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about 2 years ago | (#42479327)

Stochiometric.

Fifteen years and I finally have a use for remembering that term. =D

Re:Altitude Sickness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42480847)

Anything turbocharged with a non-manual waste gate has built in altitude compensation over and above other engines. Period.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about 2 years ago | (#42484979)

Forced induction engines perform alot better in high altitudes due to them actively cramming air into the engine. The fact that your turbocharged vehicle did alot better in the Alps compared to his N/A SUV is no surprise.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#42477347)

I, an out of shape old man, was able to walk around Mauna Kea (13,700 ft) without much problem as long as you move slow. 16K feet would probably put me on my ass. FYI: While visiting the area, go up Mauna Kea in the day and at night. The landscape with all the observatories is mind blowing in the sun and at night.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42477741)

Agreed. That's the key: you have to find a slow, steady pace. Going too fast makes for a very crappy day.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | about 2 years ago | (#42477707)

Lucky you didn't get fined by your rental car company - there are reasons those provisions are in the agreement and I believe most of the modern cars have GPS units on them. We took a tour up there about 6 years ago, going on a specially modified bus that had no problem hitting the summit (I'm also surprised they let a rental car up the final road as they limit the traffic up there to keep the dust level down which can impact the observations - I thought you had to have a sticker/permit to go up to the top)

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#42478589)

This was a about 10 years ago, I don't recall needing any special sticker/permit to gain access to the road, but that could have been handled by the driver while we were at a lower altitude (we stopped at a base station of some sort). This was probably before they started adding GPS units to most rental cars. I wouldn't be surprised if that practice is less common in Hawaii anyway as there are relatively few places to take a stolen car. While our rental was sputtering along, we did encounter other smaller cars that were going up and down the road with no problem.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

gkndivebum (664421) | about 2 years ago | (#42478623)

I am going to assume that was Mauna Kea [hawaii.edu] and not Mauna Loa [wikipedia.org] . There is a road to the summit of the former, paved part of the way, for the people who work at the observatories up there. There is a 4WD unpaved "road" part way up the slope of Mauna Loa but no vehicular access to the summit.

Rental car companies don't like having to come collect their vehicles from Mauna Kea after people have destroyed the brakes in them riding them all the way down the hill (or having negative interactions with invisible cows [hawaii.edu] at lower elevations).

FWIW when I make trips to the summit I bring oxygen, and spend an hour or so at the Visitor Information Station [hawaii.edu] at 9300 feet before heading up to the summit.

Working at altitude can be deceptively difficult -- an acquaintance who works at the summit describes a conversation he had which went something along the lines of "Well, I've cut it three times and it's still too short". Low PO2 isn't good for higher cognitive function.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479475)

Shut up and talk about video games. No one cares about your science. We're nerds. We want video games and to bash DRM.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | about 2 years ago | (#42489725)

"Well, I've cut it three times and it's still too short"

Ouch!

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 2 years ago | (#42485807)

Mauna Loa is about 13,000ft above sea level at the peak. I was the only one that didn't have a problem breathing, but our rental SUV barely made it up...

How many decades ago was that? Anything reasonably modern (and rentals are usually no more than a year or so old) would be fuel-injected and computer-controlled; altitude shouldn't affect it like that. I've driven up to Pikes Peak (about 14100', IIRC), and my car didn't have any issues. (It was a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero...nothing particularly exotic. Still drive it to work every day.)

Re:Altitude Sickness... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42476951)

...the only cure is to remove to a lower elevation.

Top Gear suggests viagra

Re:Altitude Sickness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477073)

And I can't remember if it helped or not. I've seen that episode a few times and I believe it was the locals (or the internet) that recommended that

Re:Altitude Sickness... (2)

Mattcelt (454751) | about 2 years ago | (#42478005)

This study [webmd.com] suggests there's a real effect going on there.

I didn't realize that Viagra is just a specific vasodilator. (It works on the smooth vessels found only in erectile tissue and in the lungs, apparently.) I wonder if there's an analogue that would work for vasoconstriction-induced migraines?

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

Techman83 (949264) | about 2 years ago | (#42501379)

I know some female friends that get migraines and are prescribed viagra to control them. So it would seem this has been thought of.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

GerryGilmore (663905) | about 2 years ago | (#42478673)

No offense, but those friends of yours are wimps. I live in Georgia, am 59 years old, smoke cigarettes and do not exercise regularly. OTOH, I'm also not obese...However, each year for the last 3 years, my son and I have traveled to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park (one of the best I've ever seen, BTW) for a weeklong bout of trail hiking. Most of the trailheads are in the 7-8K ft range, with many of the trails reaching 10,000 ft and more. Certainly, we were both pausing more frequently as the elevation rose, but altitude sickness at 10,000 feet? Not a bit that either of us experienced.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479355)

If the trail heads were at 7-8 k, that is a lot more reasonable and hiking would give you plenty of time get used to it before you reached 10+k parts of the trail. Driving or flying to that altitude can be a lot more harsh due to the suddenness, when sometimes just an hour long break or lunch at ~7k can make a big difference. Dehydration can factor into it quite a bit too, whereas someone hiking is probably consuming more water than someone driving around and not expecting the change in conditions. Problems with altitude sickness are actually a lot more common in the 9-12k ft range than some higher ranges in many places, just because of how much easier and faster it is to get to those heights.

I've worked with quite a few people who have traveled to the south pole for research, where the elevation is only about 9000 ft. Altitude sickness can be a big deal for a lot of people first getting there, because they fly in on a plane, the area is really cold and dry, it all is a rather quick shock and change that can take a day or two to get used to. And sometimes it is hard to guess who will be affected most. Being in shape helps, but some in shape people, even used to high altitudes, sudden get caught off guard with issues and changes.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

michael_rendier (2601249) | about 2 years ago | (#42480727)

you didn't drive from sea level to 10,000 feet in about four hours...that's rather a bit fast to be ascending that far...it'll getcha if you do...i promise

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

fotbr (855184) | about 2 years ago | (#42483785)

Taking off in an unpressurized small plane and flying up to that altitude (granted, starting at about 400ft) in a lot less time than 4 hours (we took about 15 minutes) didn't "get" me or the other two folks I was flying with. Then again, we didn't get out and go for a walk at that altitude either.

Re:Altitude Sickness... (1)

michael_rendier (2601249) | about 2 years ago | (#42483863)

*nods*...these guys couldn't sit still...disoriented, nauseous, migraines...they had teh sickness bad...

say what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42476903)

134 million processors, 140 kilowatts?!?

1 miliwat per processor?

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477409)

+1, even if they're using GPUs, those cores use at least 0.14 watts each. This would be 100x better.

Re:say what? (2)

volxdragon (1297215) | about 2 years ago | (#42477753)

RTFA - this is not a general-purpose computer but specially built circuit boards that equate to 134M "processors" - that is why it is not eligible to be in the top supercomputer listing...

Re:say what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479533)

No one cares about your science. We're nerds. We want video games and to bash DRM.

Re:say what? (2)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 2 years ago | (#42477829)

The processors are custom made processing boards.. they are not CPU's you would get off the shelf. They are made to do only one task.

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42486599)

You are right: 134 million processors is more than twice the number of Xbox 360 sold in the world up to now, or less than $11.9 per "processor" if the total 1.3 billion dollar budget for the whole project has been allocated at that only. Certainly incorrect. Another, more realistic explanation is to be found in this older article:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/telescopes/4283382
 

3 mile high supercomputer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42476919)

When I read the title, I got all excited because I thought that someone was building an enormous supercomputer that was 15,000 feet tall. That would have been freakin' awesome.

Re:3 mile high supercomputer! (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about 2 years ago | (#42477851)

That's exactly what I thought.

"A three mile tall supercomputer? You're damned right that poses some unique challenges!"

Re:3 mile high supercomputer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42478427)

A. E. Van Vogt wudda done it with vacuum tubes.

Why process all data in place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477161)

As the subject says. They could have a short fiber optic connection to a more hospitable spot down the road.

Re:Why process all data in place? (2)

belthize (990217) | about 2 years ago | (#42477321)

More than one fiber would be needed. There are 50 antennas each with multiple fibers connected to the correlator. A lot of thought went into it and despite the complications it was simpler to put the correlator there than 'down the road'.

Particle problems, too? (0)

DavidHumus (725117) | about 2 years ago | (#42477193)

The article mentions how hard-disks fail at this altitude because the heads can't glide over the platters on a layer of air because it's too thin. The thin air also is less effective for cooling. However, it didn't say if there's been any consideration of an increased incidence of high-energy particles from outer space causing random faults even in solid-state components.

Re:Particle problems, too? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477361)

Shut up and talk about comic books. No one cares about your science. We're nerds. We want video games and to bash DRM.

Re:Particle problems, too? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42477771)

The hard drives don't belong at that altitude, then. The correlators can well be completely diskless machines, even without a solid state drive. They can boot over the network from the lower-altitude server station.

Re:Particle problems, too? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 2 years ago | (#42478945)

This is ridiculous. Just pressurize the server room or whole building and be done with it. That layer of air would automagically reappear for the heads to glide over the platters.

As for particles, I know nothing about the subject but I guess that mountain isn't much closer than we are from the particle sources. I do not think the additional layer of atmosphere said particles have to go through to get to us makes a difference.

My understanding is that particles are deviated at higher altitude than mountains by the Earth magnetic field.

Re:Particle problems, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479735)

At that altitude, the pressure is about half that of sea level. So to pressurize the building, you would have to do so by several psi to bring it down to something a little lower. Working with very large, pressurized enclosures is possible, but is expensive and really sucks to work with. There are some serious dangers of failures for stuff that large. Not like it would level the building, but more like it would damage the hearing of people working in it and be really expensive to fix. I would be surprised if at this altitude it would be much cheaper to go that route instead of just getting equipment rated for higher elevations (which might be a matter of just sealing the hard drive itself, instead of the whole room).

Also, cosmic rays are much higher energy typically than solar wind, so are not deflected much by the Earth's magnetic field. They will bombard the Earth's atmosphere just about everywhere. At an altitude of about 5 km, the rate will be maybe 2-3 times higher than at sea level. So this is probably not a big deal as the variation along the surface of the Earth is more than that (unless the mountain they are on top of has unusually high background). But the rate does continue if you went higher, reaching a peak somewhere around 15 km up, as it is not just the cosmic rays that are incoming, but the ones that hit somewhere higher in the atmosphere that cause a huge shower of secondary particles that go some km in the air before stopping.

Re:Particle problems, too? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 2 years ago | (#42480939)

At that altitude, the pressure is about half that of sea level. So to pressurize the building, you would have to do so by several psi to bring it down to something a little lower.

well, 1/2 atmosphere = 7 psi.

5 psi should be enough,

8 psi causes stress on en airplane fuselage but planes have to be light. Submarines can stand 1,500 psi and above...

My point is that it just might end up being cheaper than fixing/adapting every piece of equipment individually, in a never ending quest. Who know?

Re:Particle problems, too? (1)

Jonathan_S (25407) | about 2 years ago | (#42487929)

This is ridiculous. Just pressurize the server room or whole building and be done with it. That layer of air would automagically reappear for the heads to glide over the platters.

Of course that means that the room pressurization would be a single point of failure for every hard drive you had. Lose pressure and every drive suffers a head crash simultaneously... Oops.

If I didn't need the storage volume I'd certainly prefer drives like SSDs that didn't require pressurization to work at that altitude. One less thing to go wrong. (Although the ability to pressurize the building when necessary to make maintenance / upgrades easier on the IT guys would be cool and useful)

Re:Particle problems, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479363)

owever, it didn't say if there's been any consideration of an increased incidence of high-energy particles from outer space causing random faults even in solid-state components.

Indeed, the JEDEC recommended ECC scrub rates for memory are meant for lower altitudes on average.

Three-mile-tall (1)

aaron44126 (2631375) | about 2 years ago | (#42477607)

Mis-interpreted the article title and though that someone was building a supercomputer that is three miles tall. I bet that poses unique challenges too.

Obligitory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42478667)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of them.

Re:Three-mile-tall (1)

Stele (9443) | about 2 years ago | (#42479845)

Would be much easier to just lay it on its side.

Re:Three-mile-tall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42485065)

You're making aspect-ratio assumptions.

Re:Three-mile-tall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42487509)

Yeah. It's a cube!

3*3*3 Miles!

Supplemental oxygen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477759)

Jeez, do I have to think of everything?

A three-mile-high supercomputer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42477773)

Who else, looking at the title, thought "Wow! Deep Thought! 42!"

Sounds like a job for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42478247)

Cloud computing!!!!!

Living at high altitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42478871)

While altitude acclimation is required, there are a number of staffed high altitude research facilities at nearly this height. Mt Evans in Colorado (14,265 ft) has a paved road to over 14,000 ft and several scientific research facilities. Normal cars drive up from Denver. I cannot believe that another 2000 ft makes a huge difference to living there. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Evans. Over 30,000 people live in La Rinconada, Peru at 16,728 ft altitude.

iLo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479071)

I hope you have some HP hardware.....iLo is your best friend. It was my best friend while living in Maine and having remote sites on top of multiple mountains.

A/C Strikes Again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42479247)

Any discussion in TFA about why they aren't just sending that data over optical cables to wherever would make sense to house a data-center? e.g. ground-level?

Why does it need to be so near the array?

Speed of signal over fibre can't be the difference (i.e. what difference does 1 km or 40km make? not much).

Re:A/C Strikes Again (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 2 years ago | (#42483655)

e.g. ground-level?

Whoa! A levitating three mile high supercomputer!

Re:A/C Strikes Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42484655)

Volume of data. They've got 66 antennas, each with four data feeds. Running one fiber-optic line down the mountain is easy; running 264 of them isn't.

Re:A/C Strikes Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42485095)

The ease of running multiple cables isn't much different than running one. However, the expense is another story.

I Couldn't Help But Think of a Better Location (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#42480093)

The far side of the Moon. No clouds, no rain, and only a little bit of dust every so often.

Re:I Couldn't Help But Think of a Better Location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42480469)

And lots of air to cool the processors with... wait...

Put the computer at a lower altitude. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#42482549)

They are combining signals from dishes separated by up to 16km so it is not a necessity that the supercomputer be right next to one of the dishes. Why not build the supercomputer at the base of the mountain instead of the top. They are already beaming raw data around so it will not make a difference.

Virtualization! (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about 2 years ago | (#42487105)

Just virtualize the supercomputer in the clouds and put the virtual machine on the mountain!

See?

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