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Big Bang Meets Big Data: South Africa Joins ASTRON And IBM To Build The Foundation For A New Era Of Computing

"DOME is not only innovating in the laboratory, but our user platform is setting a new standard in open collaboration," said Dr. Albert-Jan Boonstra, DOME project leader, ASTRON. "In addition to SKA South Africa, four additional organizations are expected to join in the coming weeks including universities and small and medium-sized businesses located in the Netherlands."

The initial five-year DOME collaboration is realized with financial support of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) and from the Province of Drenthe.

Virtual Recruiting EventIBM and ASTRON scientists will be hosting a SmartCloud virtual recruiting event on 26 March for several open positions within the DOME project.  For details visit

Introducing the SKAThe Square Kilometre Array project is a global science and engineering project to build the world's largest radio telescope.

The SKA will see back to a time before the first stars lit up. Optical telescopes see the light from stars. Before stars existed there was only gas; a radio telescope with the sensitivity of the SKA can see back in time to the gas that existed before stars were even born.

The SKA will address a wide range of fundamental questions in physics, astrophysics, cosmology and astrobiology. It will be able to investigate previously unexplored parts of the distant Universe.

The project is led by the SKA Organization, a not-for-profit company with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK. The organization was established in December 2011 to formalize relationships between the international partners and centralize the leadership of the project.

The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and Australia. There will be 3,000 dish antennas, each about 15 m in diameter as well as two other types of radio wave receptor, know as low- and mid-frequency aperture array antennas. The mid-frequency aperture arrays will be built in South Africa and are envisaged to be a major component of the SKA Phase 2. The antennas will be arranged in five spiral arms and the dishes in Southern Africa will extend to distances of at least 3,000 km from the centre of the core region. Construction of the SKA is expected to begin in 2017 and conclude in 2024.

About SKA South Africa and NRFSKA SA was established by the Department of Science and Technology of South Africa and is administered as a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The main programs falling under SKA SA are the hosting of the SKA, the construction of the 64-dish SKA pre-cursor telescope known as MeerKAT, the establishment and protection of the Radio Astronomy Reserve in the Karoo region in South Africa, the development of a substantial human capital development program, and the development of the African VLBI Network.

As an independent government agency, the NRF promotes and supports research in all fields of knowledge. It also conducts research and provides access to National Research Facilities. The NRF provides services to the research community especially at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Science Councils with a view to promote high-level human capital development. The NRF aims to uphold excellence in all its investments in knowledge, people and infrastructure. For more info

About ASTRONASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Its mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen, via the development of novel and innovative technologies, the operation of world-class radio astronomy facilities, and the pursuit of fundamental astronomical research. See also:

About IBM:For more information visit

Read this whitepaper on the DOME project:


ASTRON, Femke Boekhorst,. Tel.: +31 521 595 204 boekhorst@astron.nlIBM Netherlands, Heleen Kamerman, +31 6 53 37 10 89, Research, J. Michael Loughran, 1-914-945-1613, IBM South Africa, Lisa Rautenbach, +27 11 302 9255, South Africa, Jasper Horrell, +27 21 506 7300,


Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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