Rows of racks hum in an underground bunker, hidden from the scorching sun and the sensitive radio antennas that dot the desert landscape in the Northern Cape.
All processing capacity for South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array (SKA) precursor telescope, MeerKAT, has to be buried so that it will not interfere the dishes which will detect the relatively weak radio signals from space.
The 64-dish MeerKAT will produce about 2.5Tb/s, all of which will have to be correlated and processed before it is sent to Cape Town, via optical fibre, for analysis.
Enter SKARAB, the latest incarnation of technology that will achieve this. SKARAB, which stands for SKA Reconfigurable Application Board, is based on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). It was designed and is manufactured by South African company Peralex.
For more, find the article — originally published in Mail & Guardian — here.