Inside 24 hours of accessing the primary stage of Australia’s latest supercomputing system, researchers have processed a collection of radio telescope observations, together with a extremely detailed picture of a supernova remnant.


The very excessive information charges and the big information volumes from new-generation radio telescopes akin to ASKAP (Australian Sq. Kilometre Array Pathfinder) want extremely succesful software program operating on supercomputers.

That is the place the Pawsey Supercomputing Analysis Centre comes into play, with a newly launched supercomputer known as Setonix – named after Western Australia’s favourite animal, the quokka (Setonix brachyurus).

ASKAP, which consists of 36 dish antennas that work collectively as one telescope, is operated by Australia’s nationwide science company CSIRO; the observational information it gathers are transferred by way of high-speed optical fibers to the Pawsey Centre for processing and changing into science-ready photographs.

In a significant milestone on the trail to full deployment, we now have now demonstrated the combination of our processing software program ASKAPsoft on Setonix, full with beautiful visuals.

Traces of a dying star

An thrilling end result of this train has been a improbable picture of a cosmic object generally known as a supernova remnant, G261.9+5.5.

Estimated to be greater than 1,000,000 years outdated, and positioned 10,000-15,000 light-years away from us, this object in our galaxy was first categorised as a supernova remnant by CSIRO radio astronomer Eric R. Hill in 1967, utilizing observations from CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope, Murriyang.

Supernova remnants (SNRs) are the stays of highly effective explosions from dying stars. The ejected materials from the explosion plows outwards into the encompassing interstellar medium at supersonic speeds, sweeping up gasoline and any materials it encounters alongside the best way, compressing and heating them up within the course of.

The galactic supernova remnant G261.9+5.5. (Wasim Raja/CSIRO; Pascal Elah/Pawsey)

Moreover, the shockwave would additionally compress the interstellar magnetic fields. The emissions we see in our radio picture of G261.9+5.5 are from extremely energetic electrons trapped in these compressed fields. They bear details about the historical past of the exploded star and points of the encompassing interstellar medium.

The construction of this remnant revealed within the deep ASKAP radio picture opens up the potential for learning this remnant and the bodily properties (akin to magnetic fields and high-energy electron densities) of the interstellar medium in unprecedented element.


Placing a supercomputer by means of its paces

The picture of SNR G261.9+05.5 is perhaps lovely to take a look at, however the processing of information from ASKAP’s astronomy surveys can also be an effective way to stress-test the supercomputer system, together with the {hardware} and the processing software program.

We included the supernova remnant’s dataset for our preliminary checks as a result of its complicated options would improve the processing challenges.

Knowledge processing even with a supercomputer is a fancy train, with completely different processing modes triggering numerous potential points. For instance, the picture of the SNR was made by combining information gathered at tons of of various frequencies (or colours, in the event you like), permitting us to get a composite view of the article.

However there’s a treasure trove of knowledge hidden within the particular person frequencies as effectively. Extracting that info usually requires making photographs at every frequency, requiring extra computing sources and extra digital house to retailer.

Whereas Setonix has enough sources for such intense processing, a key problem could be to determine the steadiness of the supercomputer when lashed with such huge quantities of information day in and day trip.


Key to this fast first demonstration was the shut collaboration between the Pawsey Centre and the ASKAP science information processing crew members. Our teamwork enabled all of us to higher perceive these challenges and rapidly discover options.

These outcomes imply we will unearth extra from the ASKAP information, for instance.

Extra to return

However that is solely the primary of two set up phases for Setonix, with the second anticipated to be accomplished later this 12 months.

This can permit information groups to course of extra of the huge quantities of information coming in from many tasks in a fraction of the time. In flip, it is not going to solely allow researchers to higher perceive our Universe however will undoubtedly uncover new objects hidden within the radio sky. The number of scientific questions that Setonix will permit us to discover in shorter time frames opens up so many prospects.

This improve in computational capability advantages not simply ASKAP, however all Australia-based researchers in all fields of science and engineering that may entry Setonix.

Whereas the supercomputer is ramping as much as full operations, so is ASKAP, which is at present wrapping up a collection of pilot surveys and can quickly undertake even bigger and deeper surveys of the sky.

The supernova remnant is only one of many options we have now revealed, and we will count on many extra beautiful photographs, and the invention of many new celestial objects, to return quickly.The Conversation

Wasim Raja, Analysis scientist, CSIRO and Pascal Jahan Elahi, Supercomputing purposes specialist, Pawsey Supercomputing Analysis Centre, CSIRO.

This text is republished from The Dialog underneath a Artistic Commons license. Learn the unique article.


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