Dec 172009

The first dish in the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

I recently went to a meeting in Perth, Western Australia, about ICT opportunities with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. Hopefully, this massive radio astronomy project will be built in Australia and provide scientists and engineers an opportunity to work on an international project of a truly awesome scale.

Science has always captured my interest, but this project seems a little special; it is grand, it will look impressive, and it will deliver. It will provide us with the most outstanding view of the universe that we have ever had. And to do it the SKA is going to need some enormous computing firepower – the sort of stuff that hasn’t even been invented yet!

Western Australia, in particular the remote mid west, is a perfect place for doing radio astronomy. This is because there are no humans there. Human make a lot of radio noise. Also,  we have a single stable government, nice atmospheric conditions, plenty of space, and a high level of expertise in technology. The other contender for the site is South Africa.

Let’s hope it happens here.

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