Big Data

HPE partners with Stephen Hawking to study the mysteries of space and time

Hawking's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology will use the HPE Superdome Flex in-memory computing platform to analyze massive data sets for information about the early universe and black holes.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and the University of Cambridge are partnering with Stephen Hawking's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (COSMOS) to examine the origins and structure of the universe, HPE announced Tuesday.

COSMOS will leverage the HPE Superdome Flex in-memory computing platform to examine massive data sets spanning 14 billion years of information, to search for clues about the early universe and black holes.

"Our COSMOS group is working to understand how space and time work, from before the first trillion trillionth of a second after the Big Bang up to today," Hawking, the Tsui Wong-Avery director of research in Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, said in a press release. "The recent discovery of gravitational waves offers amazing insights about black holes and the whole Universe. With exciting new data like this, we need flexible and powerful computer systems to keep ahead so we can test our theories and explore new concepts in fundamental physics."

SEE: Quick glossary: Big data (Tech Pro Research)

Access to new data sets has transformed the field of cosmology from speculative theory to quantitative science in the years since 1997, when COSMOS was founded by Hawking and a consortium of UK cosmologists. The group supports research in cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics using shared in-memory computing.

"In a fast-moving field we have the twofold challenge of analyzing larger data sets while matching their increasing precision with our theoretical models," professor Paul Shellard, director of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and head of the COSMOS group, said in the release. "In-memory computing allows us to ingest all of this data and act on it immediately, trying out new ideas, new algorithms. It accelerates time to solution and equips us with a powerful tool to probe the big questions about the origin of our Universe."

The HPE Superdome Flex, combined with an HPE Apollo supercomputer and Intel Xeon Phi systems, will allow COSMOS to incorporate data including gravitational waves, the cosmic microwave background, and the distribution of stars and galaxies to search for tiny signatures in huge datasets.

HPE Superdome Flex uses Memory-Driven Computing, which features a pool of memory accessed by compute resources over a high-speed data interconnect, according to HPE. The shared memory and single system design allows researchers to solve complex, data-intensive problems, and reduces the burden on code developers.

"The in-memory computing capability of HPE Superdome Flex is uniquely suited to meet the needs of the COSMOS research group," Randy Meyer, vice president and general manager of synergy and mission critical servers at HPE, said in the release. "The platform will enable the research team to analyze huge data sets and in real time. This means they will be able to find answers faster."

The supercomputer will also support work in a range of other fields at Cambridge as well, the release noted, including environmental science and medical imaging.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and the University of Cambridge are partnering with Stephen Hawking's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (COSMOS) to examine the origins and structure of the universe.

2. COSMOS will use the HPE Superdome Flex supercomputer to analyze data such as gravitational waves, the cosmic microwave background, and the distribution of stars and galaxies to search for new patterns of information about the universe.

3. The supercomputer will also support work in a range of other fields at Cambridge, including environmental science and medical imaging.

istock-613869830.jpg
Image: iStockphoto/alex-mit

Also see

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox