Sat, 23 Sep 2023

SYDNEY, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Australia's newest supercomputer, Setonix, has revealed its first visualizations of a supernova captured by the Australia Space Agency's ASKAP radio telescope.

The image, revealed to researchers on Tuesday, was first captured by the radio telescope located in rural Western Australia before being sent via optic cable to the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Center in the state's capital, Perth.

Dr Pascal Elahi, Pawsey's supercomputing applications specialist, said the 70 million Australian dollars (about 48.90 million U.S. dollars) supercomputer increased the facility's computing power by 45 percent.

"Processing data from ASKAP's astronomy surveys is a great way to stress-test the Setonix system and see what is possible."

Radio telescopes operate by focusing on a single point in the sky and picking up radio waves which can later be transformed into an image through the conversion of radio wavelengths to the visible spectrum.

The supernova captured in this study is between 10,000 and 15,000 light years away, and was first discovered in 1967, however since then little has been learned about its age, size and type. The researchers hoped the new level of detail would help revisit unanswered questions.

Elahi told Xinhua on Tuesday that the initial performance of the supercomputer has just scratched the surface of its full capabilities.

"Setonix is open to Australian researchers from all fields of science," he said.

He said its potential applications ranged from modelling weather and the impacts of climate change to developing artificial intelligence and even combating diseases such as COVID-19 and cancer.

"Supercomputers are virtual laboratories. We aim to help people do ground-breaking and impactful research by providing access to the best possible virtual laboratory."

Once fully operational the supercomputer will be 30 times more powerful than all the center's earlier systems combined.

"This will allow for more processing of the vast amounts of data coming in from many projects, and more science will be achieved in a fraction of the time," said the researchers.

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