HPE-Microsoft supercomputing collaboration on ISS speeds analysis into build lag health impacts

NicoElNino –

Several months on from the deployment of a microwave-sized supercomputer on the Global Condominium Role, important aspects of the analysis it is powering dangle began to emerge

Caroline Donnelly


Printed: 19 Aug 2021 17: 00

The Global Condominium Role (ISS) has confirmed it is the use of its HPE-powered Spaceborne Supercomputer-2 equipment to evaluate the lengthy-time length health impacts of build lag on astronauts. 

The HPE edge computing tool has been aboard the ISS since February 2021, and used to be deployed to fabricate it that it is doubtless you’ll presumably maybe well presumably also take into accout for researchers to utilize synthetic intelligence (AI) to development efforts to launch a manned mission to Mars.

As detailed by Computer Weekly at the time of its launch, the microwave-sized tool is constructed around HPE’s Edgeline EL4000 converged edge computing devices and one of its ProLiant DL360 Gen110 dwelling equipment, and is decided to move on the ISS for the following two to three years.

The setup is designed to ingest data from a ramification of sources, including satellites and cameras, for processing in accurate time, and is additionally equipped with graphic processing devices (GPUs) so it is a ways going to manage with compute-intensive AI and machine learning workloads.

HPE has additionally partnered with Microsoft so that – as and when wished – it is a ways going to use the burst ability of the Azure cloud to address computationally heavy workloads too.

The “cloud bursting” characteristic of the supercomputer’s fabricate has been put to utilize in the future of an experiment designed to gauge how lengthy-time length publicity to radiation can dangle an impact on the health of astronauts, Microsoft confirmed in a blog put up.

“The effects on a human body of lengthy sojourns in build aren’t absolutely known, making know-how that lets in frequent monitoring of changes over time especially important,” the company stated.

To that pause, astronauts taking portion in that experiment download their genomes and use the supercomputer to look at their genetic code for organising abnormalities.

“Those [genomes] then gain when put next with the Nationwide Institute for Health’s database to search out out whether there are any original mutations, and if these are benign and the mission can continue, or in the occasion that they’re ones linked to cancer that can even require immediate care abet on Earth,” the blog put up persevered. “It’s the final take a look at of telemedicine that’s being eyed for a ways off areas all around the arena as smartly.”

As important as this work is, it additionally generates colossal amounts of data and requires big amounts of processing energy, which is equipped by Azure.

“Sequencing a single human genome, about six billion characters, generates about 200 gigabytes of uncooked data, and the Spaceborne Computer-2 is more healthy dispensed two hours of dialog bandwidth per week for transmitting data to Earth, with a maximum download hobble of 250 kilobytes per 2nd,” stated Microsoft.

“That’s lower than 2 gigabytes per week – now not even ample to download a Netflix film – that draw it would possibly maybe maybe presumably maybe well maintain two years to transmit factual one genomic dataset.”

To side-step this, the supercomputer scours the genome data onboard the ISS for anomalies that require extra investigation and sends factual these segments down to the Azure cloud for extra prognosis.

“From there, scientists anyplace in the arena can use the power of cloud computing to move their algorithms for prognosis and choices, having access to millions of computers working in parallel and linked by 165,000 miles of fibreoptic cables connecting Azure datacentres scattered all over 65 areas all around the globe.”

The supercomputer has been frail to compose four experiments to this point, Microsoft confirmed, with other tasks including one designed to analyse vegetation grown onboard the ISS to know how they fare attempting to grow in a nil-gravity atmosphere.

And that truth these experiments are being utilized the use of “off-the-shelf” technologies from the likes of HPE and Microsoft is section of a broader pattern that’s contributing in direction of build lag and experimentation becoming more and more accessible to more of us, the company stated.

“Condominium is going via a serious transformation length,” stated Steve Kitay, who heads up the Azure Condominium division at Microsoft. “It has traditionally been an atmosphere dominated by main states and governments, since it used to be so dear to compose and launch build techniques. However what’s going on now would possibly maybe presumably maybe well be speedily commercialisation of build that’s opening up original alternatives for a big selection of more actors.”

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