ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology

First Dome colloquium

First Dome colloquium On Thursday afternoon September 17th, ASTRON’s Van de Hulst auditorium was the venue for the first Dome colloquium. Three speakers were lined up to share some recent findings. The audience consisted of people from various SME’s, as well as institutes like TNO, University of Groningen, ASTRON and projects IJkdijk and Target.

Gero Vinodh Jonas
Gero Dittmann Vinodh Venkatesan Jonas Weiss


The first speaker was Gero Dittmann, representing workstream number 1, Algorithms & Machines. His presentation mainly dealt with the question of how new Dome tools can be used to determine which kind of system architecture will yield the best cost performance for specific applications and how to scale up their performance. This tool, according to Gero and his team, can actually perform such an evaluation up to 1000 times faster than a state-of-the-art simulator.

Our second speaker was Vinodh Venkatesan, brand new project leader for workstream number 2, Access Patterns. Vinodh’s focus was on how to combine SSD (solid-state drives), hard disk drives and magnetic tape to optimize the cost and performance of a storage system. He spoke of the Exaplan tool that was developed within Dome. By combining relevant characteristics of storage media, workload and budget, Exaplan derives an optimal storage strategy. Magnetic tape has not been integrated yet. It still relies on a separate model for analysis, but the tape option will soon be an integral part of Exaplan.

Last but not least, Jonas Weiss presented very interesting results from workstream 3, Nano Photonics. One of the key questions here, is how to reduce the cost of collecting data from remote areas. We need to get the signal from where it was collected to where it can be digitized and processed. Signal transport will cause major costs when using current technologies. One of the lesser-known benefits of optic fiber is that it can also carry an analogue signal, like radio. Very efficiently, in fact. It takes a radio signal less than 200 milliWatt to travel about 10 kilometers.

Each speaker faced some interesting and challenging questions from the audience. After the colloquium itself, discussions continued over drinks.