|2015-05 High Performance Computing|
Things changed when we were informed of the admittance of Compucon into the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project as an official collaborator in October 2013. We have used various ways to express our feelings and plans such as diving into the deep sea to work on the bulk of the iceberg or climbing to the extreme height of Mt Everest.
Compucon underwent a restructuring process in 2015-03 to define which members will operate Compucon 1 and who will go into Compucon II exploration teams. Compucon 1 is the original Compucon responsible for making and supporting highly reliable desktop and server computing systems. Compucon II is a new team exploring the depths and the extreme heights. We have not looked back and have been pleased about this move.
SKA involves 12 countries around the world including England, Canada, South Africa, India, Italy, Netherlands, China, Australia, and New Zealand. This group is designing and will build new telescopes that are the most powerful for mankind to learn about the universe and where we came from for the next 50 years. The telescopes are radio based (as against optical) employing a digital computing Interferometry technique to produce visualisation of the universe. This technique enables many small dishes, scattered over a large area to perform like a single big dish, as big as the entire area in simple layman terms. To achieve this effect, high performance computing is needed.
Initial investigations revealed that COTS (commercial off the shelf) computing technologies were not good enough. They failed badly in 2 aspects: they could not handle the large amount of signals collected from the heavens and they could not survive in deserts where there was minimal electricity supply. Further investigations have revealed several potential technology candidates and the rest is confidential at this point in time.
The direct involvement of Compucon in SKA investigations prompted us to look at spinning off the expertise gained to areas outside of SKA on the condition that this act does not compromise the interest of all parties in SKA. We started a High Performance Computing Citizen Scientist community in July 2014 (www.compucon.co.nz/forum) to bounce ideas around on the front, whilst the Compucon II team continues to work very hard in the backroom.
We have been holding seminars to report what we have achieved so far, and we welcome members of the public to join our community or the exploration teams.