17 May 2013

COBRA COLLOQUIUM: Friday May 17, 2013 at 15:00 – 16:00 in the Film Theater of Grand Café and Film house De Zwarte Doos

Speaker: Dr. Marco de Vos

Title: Data-Centric Processing for the SKA - How large research infrastructures push ExaScale technology

Abstract: Astronomy is primarily an observational science: our lab is the universe. This is by far the largest lab, but also the most remote.
Astronomical research is therefore critically dependent on ever more accurate observations. Telescopes, observing across the electromagnetic spectrum, thus not only become increasingly big and complex, but also generate an ever growing stream of data. It is here that astronomy, ICT research and mathematics meet.

The LOFAR system, developed by ASTRON and partners, generates hundreds of Terabytes that are processed in a multi-Teraflop hybrid central processor. For future radio-telescopes, in particular the Square Kilometre Array, these numbers will be raised to Exascale levels. The SKA is an international effort to build the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope, which is to be located in Southern Africa and Australia to help better understand the history of the universe. When the SKA is completed, it will collect Big Data from deep space containing information dating back to the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago. The aperture arrays and dishes of the SKA will produce 10 times the global internet traffic, but the power to process all of this data as it is collected far exceeds the capabilities of the current state-of-the-art technology. The project thus constitutes an ultimate Big Data challenge, and scientists must produce major advances in computing to deal with it. The impact of those advances will be felt far beyond the SKA project-helping to usher in a new era of computing. In the DOME project ASTRON and IBM jointly perform research on these topics in the ASTRON and IBM Center for ExaScale Technology.

In this talk I will discuss three areas where research for the SKA is highly relevant in a broader setting. CPU-centric architectures are no longer adequate for energy efficient processing of ever growing datastreams. The SKA will require a move towards data-centric hardware/software architectures, where short-distance datatransport is minimized. Furthermore, several functions early in the processing chain can no longer be done interactively. The SKA will push these functions into streaming mode, requiring more cognitive software approaches.
Finally, the era of Big-Data requires us to rethink issues of data-stewardship, in order to keep data as open and accessible as possible within realistc costs. The concept of autonomous data might provide clues for solving this challenge.

Biography: Marco de Vos is Managing Director at ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and Lector Computer Science and Sensor Systems at the Hanze Institute of Technology. He joined the R&D division of ASTRON in 1993, after completing his PhD in Optical Interferometry. Between
1999 and 2005 he has been leading the technical development of the LOFAR telescope. Then he served as ASTRON Director of R&D until he assumed his present position in 2010. He has played a leading role in setting-up various large research projects and public-private partnerships, most recently the ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology.

After the colloquium (around 16:00) we organize a mini-colloquium in which three COBRA researchers, one from each of the three COBRA groups, will give a short presentation about his or her work.

For the Photonics and Semiconductor Nanophysics Group:
Speaker: Yingchao Cui Title: Nanowire Solar Cells

For the Electro Optical Communication Group:
Speaker: Pinxiang Duan Title: 3D stacking transceiver for chip-to-chip interconnects

For the Photonic Integration Group:
Speaker: Victor Calzadilla Title: Integration of Metallo-Dielectric lasers in the IMOS platform

The audience is invited to an informal gathering following the colloquium in the lounge of Grand Café and Film house De Zwarte Doos

The next COBRA Colloquium will take place on Friday, June 7, 2013 
Location: TU/e, Auditorium zaal 7 !!!
Time: 15:00 hours