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SES, SnT test MeluXina supercomputer to boost satellite broadband

Grand Duchy’s leading satellite operator and supercomputer site begin project to enable research partners to perform advanced optimisation tests for steadily growing broadband sector

Researchers at the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), along with the country’s leading satellite operator SES, have begun supercomputer testing on the MeluXina platform, in a joint project designed to effectively optimise satellite performance and allocate spectrum.

The joint SES-SnT project, Resource allocation for satellite communications, includes modelling and optimising performance and radio spectrum usage for broadband satellite communications systems.

As SES satellites deliver content and connectivity services to millions of users simultaneously, resources such as spectrum and transmission power need to be continuously allocated in the most optimal way to maximise the system performance. Moreover, as it starts operating its fully digital satellites – SES-17 and O3b mPOWER, its second-generation medium earth orbit (MEO) constellation – the need for intelligent automation and optimisation of satellite systems has become increasingly important. SES and one of its industry partners have already developed what are claimed to be “groundbreaking advancements” for large-scale optimisation across its new satellites.

The addition of the computational power of MeluXina and a research partnership with SnT brings testing and modelling of various scenarios to a different level. The partners say MeluXina is ranked among the top 50 installations of its kind worldwide and opens the door for innovative and advanced research methods for key sectors in Luxembourg, including space.

The supercomputer is capable of executing millions of billions of calculations per second, which makes it particularly attractive for research and innovation projects that require complex combinatorial calculations, including telecommunications and cryptology.

“In order to optimise the performance of our innovative, next-generation satellites, we have to use software-based systems with complex algorithms and run hundreds of tests before our new satellite systems are operational,” said SES chief technology officer Ruy Pinto.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to use the capabilities of MeluXina to generate optimisation scenarios that will enable us to deliver the best service to our customers. It was great to continue our partnership with SnT and further our research on space.”

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SnT director Björn Ottersten added: “There is always a trade-off between complexity and performance, and when your resources are satellites in orbit it is even more important to strike the right balance. Working with SES gives our researchers the opportunity to work with cutting-edge industry solutions, like their O3b mPOWER system, ensuring our innovative research is relevant for real-world applications.

“Meluxina’s computational power enabled the project team to scale up the complexity of their work, investigating optimisation scenarios that would not be realistic to consider with normal computers.”

“We are excited to see SES, a homegrown global content and connectivity satellite leader, and SnT, one of the leading research institutions in Luxembourg, joining efforts to benefit from LuxProvide’s supercomputing services,” said Roger Lampach, CEO of LuxProvide, the national supercomputer HPC organisation in charge of the planning, installation and long-term operation of the machine.

“High system dimensions, such as for next-generation networks and satellite systems, require computationally intensive modelling, and that’s where MeluXina comes in. Computational speed, tailor made software tooling and the in-house team expertise at LuxProvide merge together to provide a unique boost to the SES and SnT research and development capabilities.”

The SnT-SES project was chosen among several national and international applications for Early Access to MeluXina, being recognised as one with the highest potential impact on society, science and the economy. LuxProvide and the MeluXina supercomputer are part of Luxembourg’s national innovation strategy and are accessible to all companies and organisations in the Grand Duchy and abroad.

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