Despite a steep drop in capacity thanks to unplanned outages and breakdowns on Monday, Eskom believes that it can still avoid load shedding on…
The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) of telescopes is to be split between South Africa and Australia and New Zealand. That’s according to an announcement made by the nations belonging to the SKA organisation at an airport in Amsterdam today.
The 1.5-billion Euro project has massive financial and tech implications for both countries. As we’ve previously pointed out, in order for the 3 000 radio dishes to operate effectively in real-time, they will need some pretty impressive networking and processing power.
They will, after all, be looking at the early Universe, testing Einstein’s theory of gravity and searching for alien intelligent life.
According to Memeburn columnist Rowan Puttergill:
The communications network alone will use enough optical fibre to wrap around the circumference of the earth twice over, and will carry nearly 10 times the amount of global network traffic on the Internet. From a computing perspective, the SKA central computer will have the processing power of around one-billion PCs, performing around 10^18 operations per second.
Although most view the decision to split the array between the competing countries as the best possible outcome, others weren’t so sure.
Some expressed disappointment that the rivalry between South Africa and its Australasian counterparts (which has played out so often on the sports field) ended in what they felt was a tame draw.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) May 25, 2012
When news came that South Africa had been awarded the lion’s share of the array however, celebrations went into full swing:
— Sarah Wild (@sarahemilywild) May 25, 2012
Dear Australia. HAHA! Love, South Africa. #SKA
— Rob Forbes (@RobForbesDJ) May 25, 2012
We won! WE WON!! WEEEE WOOOON!!! Congratulations to Africa on winning the #SKA project! *vuvuzela noises* 😀
— _SaskiaMitchell (@_SaskiaMitchell) May 25, 2012
— Dean Macpherson (@deanwmacpherson) May 25, 2012
— SouthernRopesUK (@SouthernRopesUK) May 25, 2012
We won the #SKA I’m really estatic about this!!!!!!!!!!!!yay yay yay!!
— Tshepo Motsie (@rewindest) May 25, 2012
Some were, however, still bitter:
#SKA wil b shared… South Africa was supposed to get it all. Another example of a Racist World
— Andre Thomas (@GalacticThomas) May 25, 2012
“Sharing is caring” What bullshit #SKA
— Dan Kemp (@MrCellaneous) May 25, 2012
Puns around the array’s abbreviation and the musical genre Ska abounded:
I really hope South Africa gets to host SKA, as well as reggae and dub.
— Deep Fried Man (@DeepFriedMan) May 25, 2012
— Ska Police (@skapolice) May 25, 2012
Whatever the result, the mere fact that something like SKA is being built is a victory for geeks everywhere.