HP Completes the Ultimate Edge Computing Test: In Space

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

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

SBC-2 consists of the HPE Edgeline Converged EL4000 Edge System, which is designed to operate in more challenging edge environments, including space. The SBC-2 is also comprised of the HPE ProLiant DL360 high-performance server designed for workloads such as HPC and AI.

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

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

“By bringing advanced computing and artificial intelligence capabilities to the International Space Station with Spaceborne Computer-2, we have helped foster a growing collaborative research community that shares a common goal of achieving scientific and engineering breakthroughs that benefit humanity, in space and here on Earth. said Mark Fernandez, Spaceborne Computer-2 Principal Investigator at HPE in a statement.

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

Other experiences included:

  • Scan spacesuits for natural erosion, rips and cuts, which can present potential safety issues to quickly search for signs of damage. If damage is detected, an AI-annotated photo highlighting the areas for further examination by NASA engineers is generated on the space station and sent to Earth.
  • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) observes Earth from space to study science and climate, as well as to support disaster response. Using SBC-2, NASA JPL tested several deep learning inference networks to automatically interpret remote sensing imagery.
  • 3D printing in space: in collaboration with Cornell University, HPE has developed modeling software capable of simulating the 3D printing of metal parts and even predicting failures and deformations that can occur when printing in space. ‘space.
  • Cumucore, a private mobile network, tested its 5G core network and radio access network emulators and other features, on SBC-2, to emulate current capabilities of base station and end-user devices in space. Experience has shown the possibility of installing 5G capabilities on satellites and spacecraft.
  • HPE opened SBC-2 to Indian students involved in the Codewars educational community to create code to calculate the amount of fuel needed to travel a given distance in space.

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Sherry J. Basler