Oct 30, 2014

1st earth science database launched in Taiwan

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Taiwan’s first petascale database for assessing climatic conditions was unveiled Oct. 28 by Hsinchu City-headquartered National Center for High-performance Computing.

Incorporating related data from the atmosphere, hydrology, ocean currents, tectonics and space, Earth Science Observation Knowledgebase holds 10.44 million records from an array of local academic sources. It can access 18,000 of these per second.

ESOK also features big data like ground images by Formosat-2, a high-resolution earth observation satellite operated by Hsinchu City-headquartered National Space Organization; ionosphere data by Formosat-3; shock wave data from National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering; and observation and measurement records from Taiwan Ocean Research Institute.

Lin Fang-pang, a research scientist and director of NCHC Cloud Computing and System Integration, said the database functions as a service platform streamlining the provision of near real-time data storage and access.

“ESOK offers unmitigated access to invaluable data that once could only be obtained from abroad,” Lin said, adding that a colleague at TORI had to purchase from Japan data on seawater temperatures around Taiwan before 1980. “This is no longer the case now the database is up and running.”

According to Lin, one of the challenges faced by ESOK architects was shortening accessing time while integrating tremendous amount of high-frequency and high-streaming data in a near real-time environment.

“The database combines networking and storage technology, playing an important role in expanding our understanding of the ever-changing land in which we live in,” he said.

Another possible application for ESOK, Lin said, is in modeling the impact and management of natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, as well as climate change stemming from global warming. (SSC-JSM)