Gathering Data from the Big BangTo answer the unanswered questions of the Universe, scientists are developing a system to measure and analyze data from the Big Bang.
In theory, 13.75 billion years ago the Big Bang happened and the Universe was born. Not only did this soon thereafter give birth to the stars and planets, but on a much smaller scale it gave birth to particles, including protons and electrons -- the essential building blocks of life.
Though this scientific theory is widely accepted, there are still so many unanswered questions about the Universe. How were galaxies formed? How did the Universe evolve? Does extraterrestrial life exist?
IBM researchers working with ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) are investigating whether big data and emerging exascale computing technologies can be used to find some of the answers, by analyzing data gathered from radio signals generated by the birth of the universe.
An international scientific group in 1994 conceived the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a radio telescope that can read faint signals from the Big Bang, to help find this data. Currently researchers are in the process of building a system that can analyze the data collected from SKA once it's completed in 2024.
"This is big data analytics to the extreme," said IBM Research scientist Ton Engbersen. "If you take the current global daily Internet traffic and double it, you are in the range of the data set that the SKA will be collecting every day."
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