The sky’s not the limit for the cloud: Microsoft is partnering with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to bring Azure cloud computing to the International Space Station.
HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2, which is due for launch to the station as early as Feb. 20 aboard Northrop Grumman’s robotic Cygnus cargo ship, will deliver edge computing, artificial intelligence capabilities and a cloud connection to orbit on an integrated platform for what could be the first time.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise says it’s been selected to build a supercomputer designed to simulate the inner workings of the mouse brain by 2020.
The computer, known as Blue Brain 5, will become the platform for the Blue Brain Project, a Swiss-led campaign to model and simulate the mammalian brain. The project — which is under the supervision of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL — meshes with international neuroscience efforts such as Europe’s Human Brain Project and the U.S. BRAIN Initiative.
“The Blue Brain Project’s scientific mission is critically dependent on our supercomputing capabilities,” project co-director Felix Schürmann said today in a news release announcing the collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
“Modeling an individual neuron at Blue Brain today leads to around 20,000 ordinary differential equations – when modeling entire brain regions, this quickly raises to 100 billion equations that have to be solved concurrently,” Schürmann said. “HPE helps us to navigate the challenging technology landscape in supercomputing.”
HPE was awarded an initial contract for the project at the end of 2017, and follow-up work could bring the total value of the award to more than $18 million.
The most powerful computer ever sent into space proved its mettle this month by registering a processing speed in excess of a trillion floating-point calculations per second, a measure that’s known as a teraflop.
“HPE’s Spaceborne Computer is the first high-performance commercial off-the-shelf computer system to run one teraflop at the International Space Station,” Mark Fernandez, Americas HPC technology officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and co-principal investigator for the project, said today in a blog post.
The Spaceborne Computer project, pioneered by NASA and HPE, will put off-the-shelf equipment through its paces over the next year to study how well it stands up to the space environment.
What does a prototype computer with 160 terabytes of memory have to do with missions to Mars? The way Kirk Bresniker sees it, a giant leap in computing is required for the giant leap to the Red Planet.
“That’s actually what we need to wrap around that crew,” Bresniker, chief architect at Hewlett Packard Labs, told GeekWire.
Bresniker said the latest prototype in a Hewlett Packard Enterprise research project known as The Machine, unveiled today, represents one not-so-small step toward the kind of computer that could be included on a Mars mission.