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SKA announces Statement of Mutual Interest with Cisco

6 July 2011, Banff, Canada – The Square Kilometre Array Program Development Office (SPDO), headquarters of the SKA radio telescope project, has signed a non binding Statement of Mutual Interest (SoMI) with Cisco. The SoMI offers a framework in which the academic – industry partnership will co-operate.

Cisco will lend their support to the SKA project in areas including application of information technology in data transport, signal processing and data centre technology. In return Cisco will gain insights into research and development work including the computational requirements and high bandwidth networking techniques necessary to handle SKA data rates that will far exceed anything seen to date.

It is anticipated that only a limited number of SoMIs between the SPDO and key industry partners will be signed. The SoMIs contain no legal obligation for either party or any of the participants, and each party pays its own costs. Exchanges of confidential information are covered by separate non-disclosure agreements.

The SKA, which is expected to be fully operational by 2024, will seek to answer fundamental questions in physics and astrophysics. It will consist of thousands of radio telescope dishes and other antennas linked together across an area the size of a continent. The signals from all the radio wave receptors will be combined to create a giant virtual radio telescope larger than any other radio observatory built to date and 50 times more sensitive.

About the SKA

The Square Kilometre Array will be a revolutionary international radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10,000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes.

With receptors extending out to distances of 3,000 km from the centre of the telescope, the SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how galaxies have evolved since then, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth.

More than 70 institutes in 20 countries, together with industry partners, are participating in the scientific and technical design of the SKA telescope which will be located in either Australia – New Zealand or Southern Africa extending to the Indian Ocean Islands. The target construction cost is €1,500 million and construction could start as soon as 2019.

For more information:

Jo Bowler, Outreach Officer.

Tel: +44 (0)161 275 4130. E-mail: bowler@skatelescope.org

Phil Crosby, Manager – Industry Participation Strategy.

Tel: +61 (0) 414 290 004. E-mail: crosby@skatelescope.org

SKA Program Development Office, University of Manchester, UK. www.skatelescope.org