Two continents vying to host the world’s largest telescope will both get a piece, a compromise that apparently makes everyone happy, at least officially. South Africa and eight partner countries will host the majority of the dishes in the first phases, with Australia and New Zealand getting the low-frequency radio dishes in the later phases. The SKA will leverage precursor telescopes both groups have been building for years.
A little more than a decade from now, one of the world's great arid plains will become a bustling intersection of high-resolution astronomy and high-powered computing. Scrub land in either South Africa or Australia will host the biggest telescope ever, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), designed to listen to the oldest birth pangs of the universe. And the brains of the operation will likely be the world's most powerful supercomputer.
The Department of Energy is getting a 10-petaflop supercomputer to help scientists design efficient electric car batteries, understand climate change and unravel cosmic mysteries.
The IBM-built system, nicknamed "Mira," will be operational at Argonne National Laboratory next year. At 10 quadrillion calculations per second, it will be twice as fast as today's fastest supercomputer and 20 times faster than Argonne's current model. If every person in the United States performed one calculation every second, it would take almost a year for them to do as many calculations as Mira will do in one second, according to IBM.
IBM is prepped to lead the way into the next era of exascale computing, at least if the technology they showed off at a convention today in Chiba, Japan can live up to expectations. Today IBM lifted the veil on its CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics (CISN) technology at Semicon Japan, saying its next-gen silicon chips that communicate via pulses of light, rather than electrical signals, will be commercially available starting next year.