ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology

Official opening of the ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology

The SKA radio telescope is estimated to generate the same amount of data per year as the entire WWW will in 2020. Current technology is insufficient to handle that volume of data for affordable cost. To address this unprecedented challenge, ASTRON and IBM scientists in the Netherlands and Switzerland have launched an initial five-year collaboration called DOME, named for the protective cover on telescopes and the famous Swiss mountain. The Dome project will investigate enabling technologies for the SKA in the context of the following research themes:

  • Data & Streaming; an enormous stream of data has to flow from the antennas, through local storage, into central storage, and this data needs to be accessible and maintainable;
  • Green (super)computing; the energy used to manage these amounts of data is prohibitive with current technology. Research is needed for technology that reduces the energy usage;
  • Nanophotonics; to develop extremely small glass fibre connections on the chip, using light particles.

The DOME researchers are working in the 'ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology, currently located at the ASTRON building in Dwingeloo, with an envisaged move to the 'Assen Knowledge Campus' towards the end of the project. The DOME project is planned to run for five years, from February 2012 until January 2017. The 'ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology is funded through the DOME project, funded by the Dutch Ministry of EL&I and the Province of Drenthe.

17 October was an important occasion for the project and the Exascale Centre: the official opening.


The official openings act, connecting a glass fiber from a sensor-array to a prototype microserver, was performed by Chris Buijink, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation. This act symbolized the connection between the different elements of the DOME research, as well as between the fundamental research (as in antenna technology) and practical applications (new computer platforms).


After the ceremony, the VIP’s gathered outside the ASTRON building for a group picture.


A short film about the Users Platform showed three companies (DySi, S [&] T and Flexicator) already involved in DOME. Credits all images: Harm-Jan Stiepel, ASTRON.

Item about this event on regional radio: Rtv Drenthe