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HP finishes the ultimate edge computing test: In space

  • 2 mths ago

You want edge computing? How about 250 miles straight up? HP Enterprise has announced that the Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2) on the International Space Station (ISS) has successfully completed 24 research experiments in less than a year.

The SBC-2 is the first in-space commercial edge computing and AI-enabled system to run on the ISS, according to HPE, and was installed in May 2021. The experiments involved real-time data processing and testing of new applications to prove reliability in space to increase autonomy for astronauts. HPE said the experiments reduced the time-to-insight from days and months to minutes.

How to choose an edge gateway

SBC-2 consists of HPE’s Edgeline Converged EL4000 Edge system, which is designed to perform in harsher edge environments, including space. SBC-2 is also made up of the HPE ProLiant DL360 high-performance server designed for workloads like HPC, and AI.

The supercomputer is designed to help astronauts avoid the need to send data down to earth for processing, and just process it in space. This will be especially useful as humans travel beyond Earth orbit to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

For example, HPE described how it previously needed 12.2 hours to transfer 1.8 GB of raw DNA sequence data to Earth for initial processing. With SBC-2, researchers on the ISS could process the same data in just six minutes to find meaningful insights, compress it to 92 KB, and send it to Earth in just two seconds, representing a 20,000X speed-up.

“By introducing edge computing and AI capabilities to the International Space Station with Spaceborne Computer-2, we have helped foster a growing, collaborative research community that shares a common goal to make scientific and engineering breakthroughs that benefit humankind, on space and here on Earth,” said Mark Fernandez, principal investigator of Spaceborne Computer-2 at HPE in a statement.

The SBC-2 has also run experiments for researchers developing space exploration capabilities, including Axiom Space, Cornell University, Cumucore, Microsoft, NASA, and Titan Space Technologies.

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