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The SKA project, which ten countries and various universities and companies are currently involved in, aims to create a radio telescope with a total catchment area of around one square kilometer - an impressive scale that should help make it some 50 times more sensitive than other radio telescopes. The scientists running the project believe that analyzing the data collected by the SKA will require high-performance computers and long-distance networks with a performance capacity that would dwarf current global Internet traffic. Indeed, the antennae of the SKA will receive signals from space that correspond to a data volume of a good 14 exabytes. To put that into context, it would take about 28 million years to play back 14 exabytes of digital music.

As one of the project partners at HANNOVER MESSE 2016, the ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy is explaining how data processing systems are going to meet these ultimate big-data requirements. ASTRON and IBM have set up a public-private partnership called DOME, which is staffed by an interdisciplinary team of scientists from both organizations and will run for five years. At the “ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology” created specifically for the project in Drenthe, Netherlands, the team will focus on developing leading future technologies and highly efficient exascale system architectures that will allow scientists to process, save and analyze the huge amounts of data that will be gathered in the future.

ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (7991 PD Dwingeloo, Netherlands), Hall 2, Stand C12, Topic: Netherlands pavilion, co-exhibitor with Holland High Tech House