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GPUs to Process Data from Multi Billion-Dollar SKA Telescope

Heather Mackey writes about how GPUs will be used to process data from the SKA Square Kilometre Array a mammoth radio frequency telescope in Australia. At an estimated cost of $2.1 billion, the array will be “10,000 times more powerful than any telescope currently in use and could generate more data in a single day than the entire Internet.”

Seeing the limitations of current solutions, Harvard University astrophysicist Michael Clark, along with Paul La Plante and Lincoln Greenhill, explored using GPUs to process radio interferometers’ signal data. Using Fermi-based NVIDIA GeForce GTX480 processors to crunch part of the correlation algorithm called the X-engine, they found that the X-engine “is a perfect match to the GPU,” according to their published findings.

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