Google developing search engine for uber-telescope

update Search engine will process, organize, analyze voluminous amounts of data for scientists; viewing system for public also planned.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

update Google has signed on to develop a search engine for what will be one of the most powerful telescopes in the world.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project, slated for completion by 2013, is a 3-billion pixel camera/telescope currently being built atop the Cerro Pachon mountain peak in Chile.

When completed, the 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will generate over 30 terabytes (30,000GB) of multiple color images of visible sky each night, according to LSST Corp., which oversees the project.

Google will collaborate with LSST to develop a search engine that can process, organize and analyze the voluminous amounts of data coming from the instrument's data streams in real time. The engine will create "movie-like windows" for scientists to view significant space events.

In addition to helping astronomers and scientists, Google and LSST are also working on a parallel viewing system for the general public.

The system would allow people to view things like "exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids as small as 100 meters and distant Kuiper Belt Objects," according to LSST.

"Google's mission is to take the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. The data from LSST will be an important part of the world's information, and by being involved in the project we hope to make it easier for that data to become accessible and useful," William Coughran, Google's vice president of engineering, said in a statement.

Former Google vice president of engineering Wayne Rosing is now a senior fellow at the University of California, Davis, and works on the LSST project with director J. Anthony Tyson.

The search engine giant joins as one of 19 entities assisting in the project including the Brookhaven National Laboratory; Columbia University; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Johns Hopkins University; Stanford University; Princeton University; Pennsylvania State University; University of Arizona; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; and the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Correction: The story incorrectly stated Wayne Rosing's role. He works on the LSST project as a senior fellow in mathematical and physical sciences at the University of California, Davis.
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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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