Today Fujitsu announced the launch of operations of the purpose-built Atacama Compact Array (ACA) Correlator supercomputer system, which will process images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project, a Chile-based radio telescope featuring unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.
With the observations from ALMA, we hope to gain insights into such mysteries as how galaxies have formed and evolved, how planetary systems orbiting around a Sun-like star are formed, and whether the origin of life is to be found in the universe. The data processing performed by the ACA Correlator system is essential for these types of radio astronomy research. I am confident that ALMA will open new horizons for astronomy.”
Fujitsu and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) worked together to develop the ACA Correlator, a purpose-built supercomputer responsible for processing data from the Atacama Compact Array, which can make high sensitivity observations.
Set at 5,000 meters above sea level in the Chilean Andes, ALMA is a massive radio telescope developed through a partnership among East Asia (led by NAOJ), North America and Europe. The telescope is capable of producing astronomical radio wave images with the world’s highest resolution. The facility consists of 66 antennas arranged in a 18.5 km-diameter array, equivalent to the span of the Yamanote railway loop encircling the central part of Tokyo, and by processing millimeter/submillimeter wave(1) signals from each antenna, it is possible for the antennas to act as a single, giant telescope that can generate radio wave images with the same resolution as those produced by a massive 18.5 km-diameter parabolic antenna. This makes it possible to see the dark regions of the universe that cannot be observed at optical wavelengths, such as galaxies that were formed shortly after the beginning of the universe, the birth of stars, planetary systems like our solar system, and matter related to the origin of life, such as of organic molecules.
A ceremony was held in Chile to commemorate the inauguration of ALMA on March 13. Read the Full Story.