Brain of world’s largest radio telescope completed

An international group of scientists led by the University of Cambridge has finished designing the ‘brain‘ of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio telescope.

Brain of world’s largest radio telescope completedWhen complete, the SKA will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.

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The SDP consortium has designed the elements that will together form the ‘brain’ of the SKA. SDP is the second stage of processing for the masses of digitized astronomical signals collected by the telescope’s receivers. 

The role of the consortium was to design the computing hardware platforms, software, and algorithms needed to process science data from the Central Signal Processor (CSP) into science data products.

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“SDP is where data becomes information,” said Rosie Bolton, Data Centre Scientist for the SKA Organisation. “This is where we start making sense of the data and produce detailed astronomical images of the sky.”

The team also designed SDP so that it can detect and remove manmade radio frequency interference (RFI) for example from satellites and other sources from the data.

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“By pushing what’s technologically feasible and developing new software and architecture for our HPC needs, we also create opportunities to develop applications in other fields,” said Maurizio.

High-Performance Computing plays an increasingly vital role in enabling research in fields such as weather forecasting, climate research, drug development and many others where cutting-edge modelling and simulations are essential.

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