For scientists to ensure they’ll be able to handle all that raw information, they need to start working on new computing technologies now. Fortunately, IBM is on it. The computing giant is collaborating with ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute of Radio Astronomy) to develop the next-generation computer tech needed to handle the colossal amount of data captured by the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a new radio telescope that will spread sensing equipment over a span 3,000 kilometers wide, or about the width of the continental U.S.A.
The project is called DOME, and it’s challenged to find a way to capture and process approximately one exabyte every day, which works out to about twice the amount of data that’s generated every day by the World Wide Web, IBM says. To do that in a way that doesn’t consume a massive amount of energy, IBM will need to develop some entirely new processing architectures before construction on the telescope begins in 2017.
While the project has only just been announced, IBM already has some ideas in the hopper. Specifically, it’ll be looking at novel ways of stacking chips (today’s chips are flat, though stacking or “3D” tech is around the corner) and using optical technology for interconnects, something the company has already had some success with.
It’s possible the social networks and search engines of the future will be powered by IBM’s coming tech or something like it, enabling them to process an entire Internet’s worth of data for anyone and everyone.
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