Technology: There's a Supercomputer Stranded on the Space Station - - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyThere's a Supercomputer Stranded on the Space Station

20:11  18 march  2019
20:11  18 march  2019 Source:   popularmechanics.com

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There are two servers in space that are part of something called the Spaceborne Computer , an experiment designed to see how a commercial device can handle the rigors of the space environment. The supercomputer , made by Hewlett Packard, is blazing a trail for subsequent spacefaring

Last week, astronauts on the International Space Station performed some routine surgery on an onboard computer by replacing a power inverter. The supercomputer , made by Hewlett Packard, is blazing a trail for subsequent spacefaring computers . This explains why a guy with a spacesuit has

There's a Supercomputer Stranded on the Space Station© Getty Images In space, no one can hear you call for IT support.

Last week, astronauts on the International Space Station performed some routine surgery on an onboard computer by replacing a power inverter. But as is the case with nearly everything in space, there’s a backstory to this mundane activity that tells us something about how hard it is to live off-world.

There are two servers in space that are part of something called the Spaceborne Computer, an experiment designed to see how a commercial device can handle the rigors of the space environment. The supercomputer, made by Hewlett Packard, is blazing a trail for subsequent spacefaring computers. This explains why a guy in a spacesuit has been appearing at HP trade show booths:

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There are two servers in space that are part of something called the Spaceborne Computer , an experiment designed to see how a commercial device can handle the rigors of the space The supercomputer , made by Hewlett Packard, is blazing a trail for subsequent spacefaring computers .

Last week, astronauts on the International Space Station performed some routine surgery on an onboard computer by replacing a power inverter. But as is the case with nearly everything in space , there ’ s a backstory to this mundane activity that tells us something about how hard it is to live off-world.

NASA launched the two Spaceborne Computer servers into orbit on a SpaceX Dragon capsule in 2017. There are two identical systems on Earth, somewhere within HP’s Engineering Department, acting as control groups for the orbiting systems. The servers are powerful but are specially made for spaceflight, so they are what contracting wonks call commercial off-the-shelf (or COTS.)

The experiment is designed to run massive data sets in a changing radiation environment, including the ebb and flow of radiation from the sun. They are also power-hungry, and so the tests were designed to challenge the COTS servers to automatically adjust their power consumption. Imagine some algorithm inside the server acting as engineer Montgomery Scott, eking every bit of unneeded power from the systems.

The U.S. Will Get the World's First Exascale Computer in 2021

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A pair of "off-the-shelf" servers sent up to the International Space Station have still not returned to Together they make up the Spaceborne Computer , a Linux system that has supercomputer HPE senior content architect Adrian Kasbergen said they may return in June 2019 if there is space on a

Surely, you think, there have been supercomputers in space before? But despite fictional presentations, such as 2001’ s HAL and the Starship But for serious data crunching—the scientific reasons we’re doing experiments on the space station —we want high-performance computing.

These trailblazing servers were supposed to return to Earth in 2018, but lost their ticket home in the scheduling aftermath that followed the 2018 launch abort of a Russian capsule. As last week’s maintenance demonstrates, the computers are still working as they wait for a trip home in spring. (No date for return has been confirmed.) HP made them available to researchers and the real-world test continues. Of course, the post-flight analysis will be like a server autopsy, and crucial to finding exactly what weaknesses the COTS servers may develop during long-duration spaceflight.

HP says there are already lessons learned. “To say we’re ecstatic would be an understatement,” wrote Mark Fernandez, HP America’s Technology Officer, last year.

One investigation verified that lowering the server’s power and speed “can enable these systems to continue to operate correctly during high-radiation events,” the company said. “This may help scientists identify ways to use software rather than expensive, time-consuming or bulky protective shielding to protect computers from space radiation.”

This supercomputer will perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second

This supercomputer will perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second A government laboratory in Illinois will receive the fastest supercomputer in the United States in 2021, and it will be the first to hit what’s called exascale-level processing. The mammoth machine, called Aurora, will live at Argonne National Laboratory, and will be able to accomplish tasks like simulating complex systems, running artificial intelligence, and conducting materials-science research. So what's the point of a supercomputer? Experiments like crash-testing a car are expensive, complicated, and sometimes dangerous.

Last week, astronauts on the International Space Station performed some routine surgery on an onboard computer by replacing a power inverter. The supercomputer , made by Hewlett Packard, is blazing a trail for subsequent spacefaring computers . This explains why a guy with a spacesuit has

Two HP servers sent up to the International Space Station in August 2017 as an experiment have still not come back to Earth, three months after their intended return. Together, they make up the Spaceborne Computer , which operates on the open-source Linux system and has supercomputer

Fernandez described the way the server can handle solar storms by reacting to them instead of hiding behind shielding. “If we suspect a component is out of parameters, we hunker down into a safe mode,” he said. “We stay in that safe idle configuration to make it through that time period. Once that event has passed, we execute a health check to ensure everything is performing well before resuming operation.”

The test also brought some truths home to coders who assumed the ISS enjoyed stable network connectivity. “Assuming a consistent acquisition of signal was an Earthly bias that crept into our software design,” Fernandez said. “In the future, we plan to design our space-bound (or remote) software stack differently to account for the much more frequent network anomalies.”

In space, no one can hear you call for IT support. The HP experiment also faced a familiar gap between the tech experts and the users, but this time they were in space. “We’re used to writing instructions for customer replaceable units (CRUs) to enable IT savvy customers to be able to resolve issues by using a provided replacement part,” Fernandez noted. “These CRU guidelines are woefully inadequate to hand to astronauts. In a fairly extensive process, we developed detailed instructions for customers that aren’t trained in IT and tailored them for the space environment.”

It’s easy to be distracted by the Geek Squad musings that come with these lessons. But don’t let the minutiae fool you: bringing off-the-shelf computing power to space is a major backbone for an age of commercialization. The key to opening space to private companies is using equipment that doesn’t take a national treasury to create and maintain. If this new age of spaceflight is going to take off, the next generation will be taking computers with them.

The Spaceborne Computer servers may be the trailblazers to all that follow. If they ever make it home, that is.

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