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China Building One of the World’s Fastest Astronomical Computers to Power Giant, Alien-Seeking Telescope

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) (07/28/15) Stephen Chen

China’s new Sky Eye 1 supercomputer is expected to be the fastest astronomical supercomputer in the world, topping Japan’s Aterui. Sky Eye 1’s peak performance will exceed 1,000 teraflops, according to Ren Jingyang, vice president of the Chinese high-performance computer (HPC) company Sugon. China plans to connect the supercomputer to the largest radio telescope in history, the 500-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST), which will search for alien life and investigate dark matter. Larger than 30 football fields, FAST’s enormous dish will collect a level of data that would overload an ordinary computer. The supercomputer will be hosted at a facility near the telescope in Guizhou with a high-speed data link connecting them that is capable of transmitting up to 100 gigabytes of data per second. The calculation demands of the FAST telescope are expected to exceed 200 teraflops per day, says Zhang Peiheng, director of the HPC research center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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