Though they resemble large satellites, radio telescopes actually collect data from satellites. Upon completion, the world’s largest ‘scope, the Square Kilometre Array, will be able to collect a lot of data. So much so, actually, that IBM is looking to build a $43-million supercomputer to handle all of that data—100,000,000 terabytes of data per day, to be exact. It’s the equivalent of twice the amount of internet traffic per day. To put that in perspective, it’s the amount of data needed to fill up 15 million 64GB iPods daily.
The supercomputer will have a bunch of new stuff you and I have never heard of, namely novel phase-change memory (high performance storage systems), nanophotonics (for large data transfers) and 3D stacked chips (for energy efficiency). It should be done within the next decade.