The Big Bang, Big Data, and IBM: Supercomputing R&D for Radio Astronomy

This circuit board is covered with antennas geared to listen to radio signals of a frequency between about 450MHz and 1.5GHz. The Square Kilometer Array project aims to cover a square kilometer across the southern hemisphere of Earth with such antennas.

This circuit board is covered with antennas geared to listen to radio signals of a frequency between about 450MHz and 1.5GHz. The Square Kilometer Array project aims to cover a square kilometer across the southern hemisphere of Earth with such antennas. (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)


HANOVER, Germany — IBM is working to advance the supercomputing state of the art in memory, optical links, and processing with research stemming from a massive radio telescope project.

Called the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the telescope is to be built from 2016 to 2024 in southern Africa and Australia. Before that, IBM is working to develop the necessary computing technology through a five-year partnership with the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (Astron).  The idea is to create computing systems that can handle the tremendous quantity of data from the radio telescope, said Ronald Luijten of IBM Research in Zurich. It will produce 14 exabytes of data each day — about 14 million times as much as an ordinary PC’s hard drive can hold. Read more / see the photo gallery.


— Posted by Regan Kelly, Editor/Community Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM’s Watson Is Off to College: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

IBM will donate a powerful version of its Watson computing system, a repeat winner on long-running quiz show Jeopardy! in 2011, to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for research and development in big data, analytics and cognitive computing. The supercomputer already has been used in health care, analyzing thousands of pages of the latest medical research, suggesting diagnoses and treatments, etc.; and in financial services.

IBM says that Watson has a unique ability to understand the subtle nuances of human language, sift through vast amounts of data to provide answers.

“Access to the Watson system will enable new research in cognitive computing as it relates to a diverse range of scientific and engineering fields,” said Shirley Ann Jackson, president of RPI. “The experience of working on Watson will give our students an advantage as they compete for the best jobs in Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing.”

Gartner estimates that the U.S. will create 1.9 million big data jobs by 2015 – which means that experience with a cutting-edge system like Watson may well become a valuable skill in the marketplace. Get the rest of the story (

-Posted by Regan Kelly

India News: IBM Power Systems Solution Reduces Nakoda Ltd.’s IT Costs by 20%

NEW DELHI: IBM has announced that Nakoda Limited, one of India’s fastest growing companies located in the region of Gujarat, has implemented an integrated IBM Smarter Computing solution. The move, which displaced existing competitive server systems, was designed to help the company standardize and streamline business operations running on SAP and increase operational efficiencies while maintaining both high product quality and attractive pricing. After implementing the IBM solution, Nakoda was able to reduce its IT costs by up to 20% in one year.nakoda

The business of the BSE-listed Nakoda Limited is diverse – spanning from manufacturing of raw materials for the textile industry to wind farm equipment. Having grown its profit/revenues three fold in the last four years, Nakoda Limited found its existing infrastructure increasingly difficult to manage. It was too complex and costly, and not capable of meeting business needs. Equally, multiple applications needed separate user sign-on, and managing user authentication was major drains on IT help desk resources, as well as a security risk.

“We realize that to keep up with the changes in today’s business environment we needed an integrated IT platform to make it easier for us to centrally plan, control and optimize workloads, while keeping data accuracy and integrity up-to date,” said Devendra Jain, Joint Managing Director, Nakoda Limited. “IBM’s performance and its market leadership in Power Systems convinced us to replace our existing servers.

The integrated smarter computing solution based on IBM Power Systems built with IBM BladeCenter servers, IBM System Storage DS5020 and Tivoli Storage Manager enables faster deployment of mission critical applications, while keeping operating costs under control. New SAP applications and consolidation of the infrastructure have contributed to significant savings. Also, as a result, raw materials price changes that took several days to reflect are now adjusted on the same day.

The implementation of the solution was done with the help of IBM’s Advanced Business Partner Innovative Telecom and Software.

“Nakoda chose IBM’s Power Systems as it offers better performance and support for the SAP implementation. The Power architecture coupled with the AIX operating system is the most robust solution for a mission critical application like SAP and with superior TCO benefits and RAS features that ensures round-the-clock operation with minimal downtime”, said Viswanath Ramaswamy, Director – Power Systems, IBM India South Asia. “Interestingly, this win along with the recent IBM announcement of the most powerful enterprise Power Systems to date, a new high-end disk storage system and key software updates for IBM’s newest mainframe computer may open several new opportunities within the textile sector in India”.

As part of IBM’s geographic expansion plans, which is one of IBM’s core growth strategies, IBM is expanding into untapped markets around the world where there is a significant opportunity for growth. Gujarat is an important region for IBM where the company works with key clients such as Nakoda Limited, Nawanagar Co-op Bank, Amul, Surat District Co-operative Bank, Atul Limited and Micro Inks Limited. IBM is also present in Ahmedabad and Surat where it has been focused on meeting the growing needs of its clients, providing advanced integrated solutions, technologies and services to aid their business growth.



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