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Science Data Processor for the Square Kilometre Array Telescope

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact David Greaves.

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is planned to be, by a large factor, the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever constructed. In large part it has been made possible by advances in electronics and computing allowing simpler and smaller mechanical structures to record the radio signals in exchange for greater demands on the computing to reconstruct the images.

The Science Data Processor (SDP) is the part of the SKA that will take the signal stream of around 10 TeraByte/s from the digital electronics section and turn it into images of the radio sky that are usable for scientific analysis. It is a unique computing challenge because of the combined demands of very high input data rates (~10 TeraByte/s), large computational requirement (around 100 PetaFLOP/s) and the need for iterative algorithms requiring large working storage (around 200 PetaByte). The solution will need to wed elements of traditional scientific “high-performance computing” and data-driven parallel work distribution strategies.

After reviewing the main drivers of computational requirements for the SDP I will present the preliminary architecture of both the hardware and software that has been developed to meet those requirements. I will then describe the ongoing work to do detailed design and development of some of the critical parts of the system:

- The job-parallelisation / data-distribution  system
- The model for dealing with failures and stragglers
- The programming model
- The high-performance storage subsystem

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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