Nerval's Lobster writes "How’s this for a daunting task? By 2017, IBM must develop low-power microservers that can handle 10 times the traffic of today’s Internet—and resist blowing desert sands, to boot. Sound impossible? Hopefully not. Those are the design parameters of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Project, the world’s largest radio telescope, located in South Africa and Australia amidst some of the world’s most rugged terrain. It will be up to the SKA-specific business unit of South Africa’s National Research Foundation, IBM, and ASTON (also known as the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) to jointly design the servers. Scientists from all three organizations will collaborate remotely and at the newly established ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology in Drenthe, the Netherlands. By peering into the furthest regions of space, the SKA project hopes to glimpse “back in time,” where the radio waves from some of the earliest moments of the universe—before stars were formed—are still detectable. The hardware is powerful enough to pick up an airport radar on a planet 50 light-years away, according to the SKA team."
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