System Bits: April 3
IBM is joining forces with the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy on a five-year project to create an extremely fast, low-power exascale computer system that will process data from the worlds largest radio telescope.
The project, called DOME, is named after the protective cover on telescopes and the well-known Swiss mountain. IBM researcher Ton Engbersen said the amount of data that will be collected each day is roughly the equivalent of twice the daily Internet traffic from around the globe. An estimated 300 to 1,500 petabytes of data also will need to be stored after processing.
At the heart of this gargantuan system is massive computing performance plus huge data-transfer links that are well beyond the most advanced current technology. This gives entirely new meaning to the idea of wide I/O, which likely will filter down in some form to commercial applications.
The radio telescope, also known as the Square Kilometer Array, uses millions of antennas to collect radio signals with a surface area that is about the width of the United States. The goal: to explore dark matter, evolving galaxies and the origins of the universe.
UC Santa Cruz has won a grant to begin exploring optical sensing technology that can detect single molecules, potentially replacing very expensive equipment with a single chip.
The goal is to create medical devices that are easily developed, inexpensive and portable and which can target disease-related molecules. The chips use standard IC processes that enable light propagation through small amounts of liquid on chips.
Unlike consumer electronics, though, nothing in the medical field moves quickly. Labs on a chip were created nearly a decade ago with great fanfare, but still have only made a small dent in the medical world.