Thursday, February 12, 2009

Australian prototype single digital backend computing system

CSIRO have issued a request for Expressions of Interest for the "Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) development of prototype single digital backend computing system" . This is to build a specially designed high speed computer for processing data from a new radio telescope. While intended for this one scientific task, the computer design is likely to have application in other areas. As an example, the Australian Defence Department's JORN over-the-horizon radar has similar processing requirements to a radio telescope.
CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) is the lead agency for the new Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope and associated infrastructure in Western Australia. ASKAP will demonstrate key technologies of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), develop the world's best site for centimetre- and metre-wave astronomy and deliver the world's best radio astronomy survey instrument. ASKAP will be a world-leading astronomy research facility in its own right.

CSIRO seeks Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified Suppliers to engage in a mulit-year collaborative partnership to develop a highly-specialised computing system termed the 'Single Digital Backend' (SDB). The SDB is a strategic development to demonstrate a potentially very effective method of handling digitised data from future large astronomical arrays such as SKA. Details fo the scope of the SDB collaboration are detailed in the EOI documentation.
Other Instructions

Some explanation of the ASKAP project is available at -

An overview of Australia's approach to the international SKA project is available at -

A public brief will be conducted at CSIRO ATNF, Marsfield, Sydney, NSW at 3.30pm on Monday 23 February 2009. You must register to attend the brief before the event - please email the EOI contact officer. Please note that attendance at the brief is non-mandatory, but encouraged.

Due to the strategic importance of the SKA Project to Australia, CSIRO has developed an Australian Industry Participation Plan which outlines how Australian companies are given full, fair and reasonable opportunity to supply goods and services to the ASKAP project.

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is offereing interested Australian companies the opportunity to prepare a pre-briefing capability statement to promote their expertise to potential prime Suppliers. These statements will be provided to the primes prior to the briefing to assist them in identifying Austsralian companies that could contribute to their SDB collaboration on a commercial basis.

Interested Australian companies are requested to contact Mr Grant Wilson, Manager Aereospace and Marine Industries at the Departement of Innovation as soon as possible (email

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