IBM has given Victoria University of Wellington a “Shared University Research Award”, in which it will donate the to the university a BM Graphical Processor Unit, plus management and implementation services.
The aim of the donation is to help the university support the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project.
Victoria University is one of a group of New Zealand universities seeking to co-host the global SKA project, in conjunction with Australian universities.
According to a statement from IBM announcing the grant, the processor unit will “enable Victoria University to support the Murchison Widefield Array project, a low-frequency SKA pathfinder project hosted in Australia in collaboration with Curtin University, MIT, the Smithsonian Institute and the Raman Research Institute.”
It is the second grant IBM New Zealand has made to a university to help with the SKA bid: In 2009 Auckland University of Technology received a grant in the form of IBM cell hardware, the Infosphere Streams software package and research time to explore the possible use of these technologies in the SKA project.
Both awards were granted under IBM’s Shared University Research (SUR) awards scheme.
In the IBM statement, NZ managing director Jennifer Moxon says: “IBM is the world’s largest private sector research organisation, investing $US6 billion annually in research and development.
“Here in New Zealand we are delighted to be able to leverage our global investment in research on a project that has the potential to deliver benefit not just to our country, but to the global scientific research community.”
Dr Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Leader Radio Astronomy Group, School of Chemical & Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington and Chair of the New Zealand SKA Research & Development Consortium, says: ““New Zealand researchers and students will have the opportunity to contribute directly to the Murchison Widefield Array, the first time we’ve been involved in an official SKA Precursor. This is a significant step forward in New Zealand’s engagement in both radio astronomy and the SKA project and we are grateful to IBM for their support.”