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IBM to Power New Generation Radio Telescope and Help Probe the Origins of the Universe 2012.07.26

Sydney, Australia - July 24, 2012 - IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that the Victoria University of Wellington, on behalf of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) Consortium, has selected IBM systems technology to help scientists probe the origins of the universe. IBM computing cluster to help Australia's Murchison Widefield Array process massive amounts of data captured from epoch when galaxies first formed. The result of an international collaboration between 13 institutions from Australia, New Zealand, U.S. and India, the MWA is a new type of radio telescope designed to capture low frequency radio waves from deep space as well as the volatile atmospheric conditions of the Sun.

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency precursor telescope to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), developed by an international consortium and located near Boolardy Station in Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) which offers a radio-quiet environment and stable climate for observations.
Courtesy of IBM
 

Sydney, Australia - July 24, 2012

IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that the Victoria University of Wellington, on behalf of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) Consortium, has selected IBM systems technology to help scientists probe the origins of the universe.

The MWA project acknowledges the traditional owners of the MRO, the Wadjarri Yamatji people.
Courtesy of IBM
 
The result of an international collaboration between 13 institutions from Australia, New Zealand, U.S. and India, the MWA is a new type of radio telescope designed to capture low frequency radio waves from deep space as well as the volatile atmospheric conditions of the Sun.

The project is being undertaken with the permission of the Wadjarri Yamatji people, governed by an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).
Courtesy of IBM
 
The signals will be captured by the telescope’s 4,096 dipole antennas positioned in the Australian Outback in a continuous stream and processed by an IBM iDataPlex dx360 M3 computing cluster that will convert the radio waves into wide-field images of the sky that are unprecedented in clarity and detail.

A fraction of the MWA antenna "tiles", as they will be built in the final configuration.
Courtesy of IBM
 
The IBM iDataPlex cluster replaces MWA’s existing custom-made hardware systems and will enable greater flexibility and increased signal processing.

We deeply appreciates the trust the Wadjarri Yamatji place in us in undertaking this work on their land.
Courtesy of IBM
 
The cluster is expected to process approximately 50 terabytes of data per day at full data rate at a speed of 8 gigabytes per second, the equivalent to over 2,000 digital songs per second, allowing scientists to study more of the sky faster than ever before, and with greater detail.

Professor Steven Tingay, MWA Project Director from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at Curtin University in Perth.
Courtesy of RMIT University
 
“The MWA project is dependent on the massive computer power offered by IBM’s iDataPlex to create real-time wide-field images of the radio sky,” said Professor Steven Tingay, MWA Project Director from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at Curtin University in Perth.
“The combination of the MWA, IBM technology and the radio-quiet environment of the Murchison will allow us to search for the incredibly weak signals that come from the early stages in the evolution of the Universe, some 13 billion years ago.”

A fraction of the MWA antenna "tiles", as they will be built in the final configuration.
Courtesy of IBM
 
The ultimate goal of the revolutionary $51 million MWA telescope is to observe the early Universe, when stars and galaxies were first born.

By detecting and studying the weak radio signals emitted from when the Universe consisted of only a dark void of Hydrogen gas – the cosmic Dark Age - scientists hope to understand how stars, planets and galaxies were formed.

The telescope will also be used by scientists to study the sun’s heliosphere during periods of strong solar activity and time-varying astronomical objects such as pulsars.

Dr Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Senior Lecturer in Physics, Victoria University of Wellington
Courtesy of University of Adelaide
 
"Victoria University was delighted to work with the IBM team to find a solution for the compute challenges of the MWA,” said Dr Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Senior Lecturer in Physics, Victoria University of Wellington.
“The IBM iDataPlex cluster provides an elegant resource to handle the processing and imaging requirements of the telescope, allowing us to do cutting-edge radio astronomy."

Glenn Wightwick, Chief Technologist, IBM Australia.
Courtesy of IBM
 
“IBM is delighted to have been selected by the MWA consortium in this significant global scientific endeavour,” said Glenn Wightwick, Chief Technologist, IBM Australia.
“High performance processing capabilities are essential to facilitating world-class science. The IBM iDataPlex cluster will be used to digitally process incoming signals and produce image data in a standard astronomical format, ready for use by scientists.”

A fraction of the MWA antenna "tiles", as they will be built in the final configuration.
Courtesy of IBM
 
The IBM iDataPlex cluster will be housed on-site in the Murchison Radio Observatory (MRO) site around 700 km north of Perth, near the radio telescope antennas.


With a 10 Gbps communications link to Perth, it will allow the images to be transferred and stored and made available for research.

The MRO site will also be the Australian location for a significant portion of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will be the world's most powerful radio telescope and is being co-hosted by Australia and South Africa.

IBM Powering the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).
Courtesy of IBM
 
The MWA project is led by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at Curtin University and is one of three SKA precursor telescopes.


For more information MWA, please visit: http://www.mwatelescope.org  

For more information on IBM iDataplex, please visit:
http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/info/x/idataplex/  


Contacts information

Mike Zimmerman
IBM Media Relations

1 (914) 766-4935
Mobile: 1 (585) 698-9974
mrzimmerman@us.ibm.com  

Gisele Boulay
IBM Media Relations

+61 401 713 940
gboulay@au1.ibm.com  


Source: IBM

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/index.wss  


Video
Fly-through Animation of MWA Radio Telescope

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLri0HFC3qg&feature  



Glenn Wightwick

Director, IBM Research and Development - Australia, and Chief Technologist for IBM Australia

Glenn Wightwick
Courtesy of IBM
 
Glenn Wightwick is Director of IBM Research and Development - Australia, Chief Technologist for IBM Australia and an IBM Distinguished Engineer.

In this capacity, he is leading the establishment of a new R&D Lab focussed on rapidly accelerating smarter planet initiatives into the market by closely linking research scientists with development engineers from the earliest concept phase through marketplace delivery.

During the previous 4.5 years Glenn led the establishment and growth of the IBM Australia Development Laboratory which comprises more than 650 software engineers and technical specialists engaged in the development and support of IBM software.

Glenn has led numerous systems and software development projects, and has undertaken international assignments in the USA and China.

Glenn is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and is a senior member of the IEEE, and has served a three year term on the Australian Research Council College of Experts.

In 2010, he was appointed an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne.


Source: IBM

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/au/en/biography/24166.wss  



ASTROMAN Magazine - 2012.07.14

IBM Collaborates with Russian Innovation Giants to Boost Microelectronics Industry

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2012.06.02

IBM Completes Acquisition of Vivisimo

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2012.05.02

New IBM Business Integration Software Helps Enterprises Accelerate Adoption of Social Business, Cloud and Mobile Technologies

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2012.04.01

IBM Increases Presence in Poland with New Branch Offices

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Made in IBM Labs: Holey Optochip First to Transfer One Trillion Bits of Information per Second Using the Power of Light

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2012.03.03

IBM Forms Watson Healthcare Advisory Board

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2012.01.06

European Commission Awards IBM for Energy Efficient 27 IBM Data Centers

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.12.03

IBM to Produce Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube in Debut of First Commercial, 3D Chip-Making Capability

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.11.11

City of Rio de Janeiro and IBM Collaborate to Advance Emergency Response System

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.11.01

IBM Watson Heads to Harvard, MIT to Explore Future of Technology in Business

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.10.15

IBM Joins European Consortium to Build a Smart Grid Using Renewable Energy

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.10.01

Japan's KEK Research Turns to IBM to Develop Powerful Central Computer System

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.09.12

WellPoint and IBM Announce Agreement to Put Watson to Work in Health Care

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.09.11

IBM Broadens Efforts to Prepare Small and Medium Businesses for Growth

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.09.08

3M and IBM to Develop New Types of Adhesives to Create 3D Semiconductors

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.08.21

IBM Unveils Cognitive Computing Chips

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ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.08.13

IBM Raises Bar, Records Highest Ever TPC-C Benchmark for x86 Servers

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