Into the Azure: HPE, Microsoft break new floor with first supercomputer in house

Originally of this 12 months Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NASA despatched a brand new edge computing system to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) and it has now efficiently accomplished its first experiment in house.

Again in 2017, HPE and NASA first proved {that a} business off-the-shelf pc may survive a launch into house, be put in by astronauts and function accurately on the ISS with the Spaceborne Laptop-1

Again in February, HPE determined to construct on this success by sending its new Spaceborne Laptop-2 to the ISS. This new system, which is compromised of the HPE Edgeline EL4000 Converged Edge system and HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen10 server, differs from its predecessor resulting from the truth that its an edge computing platform designed particularly to function within the harsh atmosphere of house. 

Spaceborne Laptop-2 was then efficiently put in in April and it delivers twice as a lot compute efficiency as its predecessor whereas additionally bringing AI capabilities to house for the primary time ever. With these new capabilities, astronauts will be capable to advance house exploration and analysis as they’ll leverage the identical programming fashions and developer experiences used on Earth.

(Picture credit score: NASA)

Fixing the bandwidth drawback

HPE’s Spaceborne Laptop-2 helps the utmost out there community speeds however the system solely receives two hours of communication bandwidth from NASA every week to transmit information to Earth with a most obtain velocity of 250 Kbps.

Whereas HPE’s researchers can compress information on Spaceborne Laptop-2 earlier than sending it to Earth or analyze collected information in house to liberate bandwidth, some analysis requires extra compute or bandwidth than the system can present. For that reason, the corporate determined to use its imaginative and prescient for an “edge to cloud” expertise during which the system is used to carry out preliminary evaluation or filtering on massive information units, extract the essential bits after which burst these outcomes all the way down to Earth the place they will be analyzed within the public cloud.

To check out this concept, the Azure Area workforce at Microsoft got here up with an experiment the place astronaut well being is monitored within the presence of the elevated radiation present in house. By utilizing a gene sequencer on board the ISS and Spaceborne Laptop-2, astronauts aboard the ISS have been in a position to carry out the preliminary technique of evaluating extracted gene sequences towards reference DNA segments in house and solely the variations have been despatched to the HPE floor station. Again on Earth, this information was uploaded to Azure the place the Microsoft Genomics service was used to match these variations towards the whole humane genome.

On August 12, the experiment was efficiently carried out when a 120MB payload of knowledge developed by Azure Area and wanted to finish the experiment was uploaded to the ISS and run on Spaceborne Laptop-2. This experiment has shone a light-weight on how an edge-to-cloud computing workflow can be utilized aboard the ISS to beat compute and bandwidth constraints.

Now that Spaceborne Laptop-2 has been efficiently put in and examined on the ISS, count on different groundbreaking experiments to be carried out sooner or later. Actually, there are 4 experiments underway proper now with an extra 29 extra already lined up.