SA SKA bid signs MOU with Intel

2011-07-27 14:06

Cape Town - South Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) has received a boost with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the bid team and Intel.

The MOU was signed on Tuesday and gives the South African bid access to the latest hardware from the global computer chip producer.

"Intel is providing us with their latest technology and we are working with them test how we can use their technology to deal with the very rapid data flow from the MeerKAT telescope," SA SKA project director Dr Bernie Fanaroff told News24.

The MeerKAT (Karoo Array Telescope) was built as an engineering test bed for the SKA and will consist of 64 connected radio telescopes that will deliver accurate astronomical data.

Fanaroff said that the MOU enables engineers to test systems that will have to cope with large amounts of data when the system becomes fully functional.

Development hardware

"It's good for us because it helps understand how we'll deal with this rapid data and it's good for them because it tests their technology and extends their knowledge of how it should be used."

The hardware that Intel is making available to the SKA bid is development hardware which will test the limits of what the technology can do.

The SKA will allow astronomers to see billions of years back in time with the telescopes using the science of radio interferometry, where several telescopes observe a single body and the data is combined to give a more accurate picture.

SA has already produced cutting edge hardware in the Roach (Reconfigurable Open Architecture Computing Hardware) board which is essential to the MeerKAT project.

"At this point, it's research and development work, so it's not production hardware that we're using," Fanaroff said.

Both SA and Australia are bidding to host the SKA which will have thousands of linked telescopes in the Northern Cape province and the MOU has added to the credibility of South Africa's bid, said Fanaroff.

"The fact that Intel is working with us on a joint R&D [research and development] project show that they've a lot of faith in out MeerKAT team and the capabilities of that team.

"They've [Intel] have said explicitly that they support the African bid for the Square Kilometre Array and obviously, it's very important for us to say that very important multi-national companies believe that the Square Kilometre Array should be built in Africa," Fanaroff said.

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  • JMsays - 2011-07-27 14:58

    Well done, we are very proud!

      Hochang - 2011-07-27 15:05

      Let's hope ANC does mess up the country and Ozzie gets the SKA. Or ANYCL takes MeerKAT and SKA, without compensation.

  • Obama Bin Laden - 2011-07-27 15:21

    Ha, ha, ha, ha!! So the promise of some computer hardware is going to persuade the West to invest billions of dollars into a country where the ruling party wants to nationalize everything from land to banks? The African National Cleptocracy can't even run a bath, never mind a country. Dream on chaps. Let's be honest, if you had billions to invest in either SA or Aus, where would you put your money? Thought so

      Kyle - 2011-07-27 15:31

      This isn't an investment to make profit.

      Taurusaurus - 2011-07-27 17:05

      @Obama Bin Laden: Its not the U.S. Government / the "West", its Intel (a computer company), and its not billions of dollars, since Intel is producing the majority of the equipment themselves. I suggest you stop trolling and read the article again. P.S. Kyle is correct. Its for research and development. Not profit.

      Obama Bin Laden - 2011-07-27 17:22

      @Tarussaurus - how stupid are you? The SKA is a partnership between 20 countries that will see 1.5 billion euros invested in either SA or Aus - and virtually ALL that money will come from the big WESTERN powers. What I'm saying is that no amount of hardware donations from intel is going to persuade the West to invest that kind of money in SA when the Malema brigade wants to nationalize everything. @Kyle - it might not be for profit but why on earth will anyone want to invest in that kind of money in a country that has a significant risk of turning into Zimbabwe II. Judging by the stupidity of the two of you I'd suggest we're already half way there.

  • Mad Dog - 2011-07-27 15:52

    Great! If we want to and obstacles are not put in the way we can do ANYTHING!! Viva South Africa!!!

      Slapper - 2011-07-27 16:47

      Hey Mad Bob, you are an automatic choice for the first obstacle. What are you doing on this page? theres no ANC Thief to defend here. Pi** off.

  • tdk25 - 2011-07-27 17:52

    Being a SA born black physicist I cannot tell you how exciting this project is. Truly proud. And all you negative people have no idea what you talking about.

      Obama Bin Laden - 2011-07-27 18:13

      @Black physicist - enjoy looking at the stars from the taxi window boet, because that's as close as you're gonna get to them thanks to your bruddas in ANCYL. There is NO WAY they are going to invest that money in SA with the way the country is going. You know it and so do I. Oh, and when that happens. I hope you stop whatever you doing and say a little thank you to the ANC and all your buddies who voted for them. - 2011-07-27 18:36

      What does your skin colour have to do with it ?

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