LOFAR team works with IBM on super computing

When the Irish Government published 'Building Ireland's Smart Economy: a Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal' it set out a strategy for medium-term economic recovery based around the concept of the Smart Economy. A Smart Economy combines the successful elements of the enterprise economy and the innovation or 'ideas'  economy. I-LOFAR is a highly innovative high-tech project that compliments these ideals and will act as a springboard for future enterprise and innovation in the midlands and across the island.

The I-LOFAR project will require close cooperation with industrial partners with experience in networks, data storage, and high-speed processing in order to fully exploit the potential of the Irish station. IBM are already collaborating with the international LOFAR network. As well as providing the BlueGene processing machine in Gronningen, they are working with the related low frequency radio astronomy project in Sweden and with ASTRON, the inventors of LOFAR, in the Netherlands.

IBM and Uppsala University and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics are working on a major new Stream Computing project to analyze massive volumes of information in real time to better understand “space weather”. By using IBM InfoSphere Streams to analyze data from sensors that track high frequency radio waves, endless amounts of data can be captured and analyzed on the fly.

ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and IBM announced in April 2012 an initial 32.9 million EURO, five-year collaboration to research extremely fast, but low-power exascale computer systems targeted for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA is an international consortium to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Scientists estimate that the processing power required to operate the telescope will be equal to several millions of today’s fastest computers.

Project contact point: Dr. Peter Gallagher.