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The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:30-16:30 Wed 06 Oct 2004

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Dr. T. J. Cornwell

(NRAO, Socorro, NM, USA)

The Square Kilometre Array - the computing challenges - Dr. Tim Cornwell Colloquium

New developments in all fields of astronomy have brought the current
generation of astronomers to the brink of probing the origin and evolution
of the Universe as a whole. To attack these questions directly, a new
generation of astronomical facilities is needed with a revolutionary new
instrument at radio wavelengths playing a critical role. The Square
Kilometre Array, a radio telescope with an effective collecting area more
than 30 times greater than the largest telescope ever built, will reveal the
dawn of galaxy formation, as well as many other new discoveries in all
fields of astronomy. The technical challenges to be overcome in the
construction are manifest, the chief being that of constructing large
collecting areas at low costs. Perhaps second to that is the challenge of
processing the data collected by the SKA. The data analysis problem is large
in size and difficult in technique. The cost of the data processing hardware
could reach hundreds of millions of dollars, even a decade from now. The
software development costs are likely to be also high. The imaging
performance needed to achieve some of the scientific goals is considerably
beyond the current state of the art. I discuss these various challenges and
the prospects (good) for meeting them.

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