Variass helps build largest radio telescope

News | 1 May 2016

From left to right: Alexander J. Brink (Head of Science Alliances at IBM and Chairman Steering Board Dome), Jet Bussemaker (Minister of Education, Culture and Science) and Henk Smid (Managing Director Variass).

Variass will produce the first batch of 26 64-bit microservers for the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). Variass does this on behalf of ASTRON and IBM. This news was announced during the Hannover Messe on 25 March 2016 in the presence of Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education, Culture and Science.  

Astron and IBM are working together on the construction of the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the DOME project, which is funded by the province of Drenthe and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. 

micro servers

The first microservers for this super telescope are being developed by our high-tech partner Variass and will be ready this summer, according to managing director Henk Smid. "The Microserver is an example of innovation that pushes the boundaries by making components smaller and smaller and combining them."

Ronald Luijten of IBM Research in Zurich calls the Variass microservers “a data center in a box”. “With the combination of power and energy efficiency, we believe that the technology is also interesting for other applications, in particular for cloud data centers, Big Data analytics applications and cognitive Internet of Things.” intent” signed in the presence of the Minister for a follow-up order for an additional thirty to forty Variass microservers to be used to demonstrate a first prototype of a Micro Data Center. 


SKA is to become a revolutionary radio telescope with thousands of interconnecting receivers spread over an area the size of a continent. The total receiving area of all receivers together is one square kilometer. The dishes that will make up this super telescope will be located in both South Africa and Australia. Construction of SKA will start this year, which will be fully operational in 2024. 

Would you like to know more about the SKA? Follow the following links: