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  1. #1
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    Predefinito Hi-tech backing for South Africa's SKA bid

    Hi-tech backing for South Africa's SKA bid




    Commissioning scientists Nadeem Ozeer, Maik Wolleben and Siphelele Blose in the MeerKAT control room at the Cape Town-based MeerKAT engineering office

    8 July 2011

    South Africa's Centre for High Performance Computing is upgrading its capacity in computational power in support of the country's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

    This follows the recent agreement between Intel South Africa Corporation and the SKA South Africa Project to partner in evaluating the highest Intel technologies in processing the enormous data rates produced by radio telescopes.

    South Africa, allied with eight other African countries, is competing against Australia (allied with New Zealand) to host the €1.5-billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10 000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope yet built.

    The international science funding agencies and governments involved in the international SKA consortium are due to announce the winning bidder in 2012, with construction likely to start in 2016 and take place in phases over several years, with completion by about 2022.

    Supercomputing centre for scientists

    The Centre for High Performance Computing, which falls under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been established over the last few years as a supercomputing centre serving South Africa's scientists.

    Backed by the Department of Science and Technology, the state-of-the-art facility is supported by the latest in data centre power and network infrastructure, and operates a number of supercomputers with different architectures.

    These include a Blue Gene/P machine, a Sun Hybrid cluster and SMP systems, and a GPU-based cluster.

    The centre also supports a number of research labs on its premises, notably the ACE Lab, which is developing new computing hardware and software. The centre is also spearheading an initiative to establish a very large data storage capability for the country's scientists.

    MeerKAT radio telescope

    SKA South Africa is currently building the KAT-7/MeerKAT radio telescope, a SKA precursor, in the rapidly developing Karoo Astronomy Reserve.

    "It is no accident that the MeerKAT engineering offices and control centre, and the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), are situated only a few kilometers from each other and are currently being linked together into the new South African Research Network (SANReN), providing superfast computer networks for research," SKA South Africa said in a recent statement.

    "Now that the MeerKAT team has the KAT-7 telescope operational in the Karoo, and a 10 Gbps (in the first phase) data link coming online in July from the Karoo into the CHPC, these two initiatives will link up to process the large data volumes in novel ways which may open up new scientific areas of investigation.

    "For example, a joint pilot project to capture and process a large amount of telescope 'voltage data' is planned for later this year."

    Intel, SKA South Africa partnership


    Further supporting these kinds of efforts, Intel South Africa and SKA South Africa recently agreed to partner in evaluating the highest Intel technologies in processing the enormous data rates produced by radio telescopes.

    "The parties entered into an agreement to make these technologies available to the SKA SA and put forth a joint engineering effort to further test and optimize them," SKA South Africa said.

    "This collaboration in applying cutting-edge technology to raw data capture and online stream processing pushes the envelope of what is possible today in scientific instruments, and puts South African scientists and engineers at the forefront of the field.

    "The completion of the Center of Competence within the CHPC, that aims at providing a platform to transfer the technology developed for SKA, such as the ROACH (reconfigurable open architecture computing hardware) board, for adoption by the broader scientific community outside astronomy, is just one of the strengths of South Africa's ability to deliver on major projects."

    SAinfo reporter


    Hi-tech backing for South Africa's SKA bid - SouthAfrica.info


    South Africa 'ready to host the SKA'


    Artist's impression of the core of the Square Kilometre Array. The full facility will comprise around 3 000 antennas with a combined collecting area of roughly one square kilometre

    8 July 2011

    South Africa is fully committed to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, and has done considerable work in support of its bid to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor told a SKA meeting in Canada on Wednesday.

    Briefing a SKA Forum meeting in Banff, Pandor said South Africa's commitment to advancing the SKA project "has been cemented in all spheres of our government, including at the provincial level.

    "We have chosen an exceptionally good site for the SKA in a remote region of South Africa, a region with very little economic activity," Pandor said. "We have provided statutory protection for the site through the Geographic Astronomy Advantage Act."

    South Africa, allied with eight other African countries, is competing against Australia (allied with New Zealand) to host the €1.5-billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10 000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope yet built.

    The international science funding agencies and governments involved in the international SKA consortium are due to announce the winning bidder in 2012, with construction likely to start in 2016 and take place in phases over several years, with completion by about 2022.

    If South Africa wins the bid, it stands to gain major international recognition in the fields of science and technology.

    Pandor said important milestones related to the MeerKAT, South Africa's SKA precursor telescope, had been achieved, many of them ahead of schedule.

    "Our progress has allowed us to plan to publish tenders for Meerkat at the end of this year," she said.

    Pandor also said South Africa was committed to providing the world with the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere until the SKA is completed.

    "We hope that the immense potential of MeerKAT will not be ignored when the most efficient and cost-effective roll-out for phase one of SKA is considered," she said.

    The African Union unanimously endorsed South Africa's SKA bid at the 15th AU Summit of Heads of State in Uganda last year.

    SAinfo reporter and BuaNews

    South Africa 'ready to host the SKA' - SouthAfrica.info
    Fra tutti il ministero dell'amore era quello che incuteva un autentico terrore... [...]

    1984 George Orwell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krYkuiRtO7M

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  2. #2
    Brics nuova linea
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    Predefinito Rif: Hi-tech backing for South Africa's SKA bid

    Fra tutti il ministero dell'amore era quello che incuteva un autentico terrore... [...]

    1984 George Orwell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krYkuiRtO7M

  3. #3
    Brics nuova linea
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    Predefinito Rif: Hi-tech backing for South Africa's SKA bid

    The SKA project



    South Africa is ready to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in southern Africa. Following an initial identification of sites suitable for the SKA by the International SKA Steering Committee in 2006, southern Africa and Australia are the finalists. A consortium of the major international science funding agencies, in consultation with the SKA Science and Engineering Committee (SSEC), will announce the selected site for the SKA in 2012.

    At about 50 – 100 times more sensitive than any other radio telescope on Earth, the SKA will be able to probe the edges of our Universe. It will help us to answer fundamental questions in astronomy, physics and cosmology, including the nature of dark energy and dark matter. It will be a powerful time machine that scientists will use to go back in time to explore the origins of the first galaxies, stars and planets. If there is life somewhere else in the Universe, the SKA will help us find it.

    The construction of the SKA is expected to cost about 1.5 billion Euro. The operations and maintenance of a large telescope normally cost about 10% of the capital costs per year. That means the international SKA consortium would be spending approximately 100 to 150 million Euro per year on the telescope. It is expected that a significant portion of the capital, operations and maintenance costs would be spent in the host country. South Africa offers a competitive and affordable solution for constructing, operating and maintaining the SKA.

    All information copyright © SKA South Africa | Tel: +27 (0)11 442 2434, Fax: +27 (0)11 442 2454
    Terms & Conditions | 17 Baker St, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa


    The SKA project - global perspective
    Fra tutti il ministero dell'amore era quello che incuteva un autentico terrore... [...]

    1984 George Orwell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krYkuiRtO7M

 

 

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