Hubble Researcher Tests Blockchain For Space Data Processing
Josh Peek, an HST (Hubble Space Telescope) researcher is working on a blockchain network to process for vast amounts of space data produced.
Peek, an associate astronomer with the Institute of STS (Space Telescope Science), said that HST, like many other space telescopes, takes “millions upon millions” hours of computer power to process space data, which can get exorbitantly expensive.
He said that in the past, researchers had less computing power in their hands, resulting in very basic results, but with technological advances and more computing power, researchers now have a lot more data to process.
According to Peek, using a decentralized system will allow researchers to use resources more efficiently. He explained:
“Tens of millions of CPU hours can really run up a bill. NASA and [STScI] use computing centers and that’s a way we can go … but there’s long latency period where you go through a grant process … and so the idea came up that we could use a distributed network to do this really efficiently, it’s 10 times cheaper than standard cloud computing.”
He has partnered with blockchain startups Hadron and AIKON to achieve the goal. AIKON will provide an interface to input the data, and Hadron’s blockchain network will then process the research data. He explained:
“The idea is, we work through AIKON, [which] works as an intermediary and they provide a simple interface for companies to use, or for research groups like mine,”
Marc Blinder, AIKON’s co-founder and chief product officer, said that Hadron is a very useful “proof-of-work blockchain”, that processes the research data provided by Peek, and the computing time for which is paid with AIKON’s CPU tokens.
Although the plan is to charge research groups and other clients purchasing CPU tokens, clients like Josh Peek are using a supply of free CPU tokens to test the system.
This system simplifies the process of testing a distributed network like blockchain, for Peek, he said.
Peek commented that he’s not an expert in all this stuff and that’s the whole point of this. He added:
“Nobody over here is going to do really complicated things with cryptocurrency, that’s not what we do here. The whole idea is, to some sense, we’re not touching cryptocurrency at all. We don’t buy anything … That’s what AIKON is trying to do, make this as simple as possible with no cryptocurrency nonsense.”
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