ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, has developed a computer board called Gemini which will be the “heart” of the new international supercomputer, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
On Monday, ASTRON staff in Dwingeloo showed the Gemini technology to Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister of Education Culture and Science, during a visit to their facilities. The Gemini computer board will enable the thousands of antennas in the SKA to be combined into one large telescope.
Hundreds of satellites and hundreds of thousands of antennae in the deserts of South Africa and Australia will form the SKA. Once it comes online, the project will generate one petabit of data per second.
The goal of the project is to improve our understanding of the universe and provide answers to fundamental physics questions. ASTRON says that the lay out of the thousands of antennas in the SKA is based on ASTRON’s Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).
On the ASTRON site, minister Van Engelshoven sounded positive about the project. “It is wonderful that all SKA data in Australia will soon be processed by Dutch technology. ASTRON plays a leading role on the world stage of radio astronomy. We can be very proud of that.” ASTRON would like to play a bigger role in the ambitious international project, but they will not know until September if funding for their participation has been approved.
Photo source: ASTRON