The ground processing of GAIA data, which is to be done by the European scientific community, represents a very large-scale scientific and technical enterprise.
ESAC at Villafranca will realise the initial processings, Cambridge University the photometric processings, and Geneva observatory the variable objects processings.
CNES planned and set a computer science architecture, hardware and software, to operate the spectroscopic, astrophysics and classification processing softwares for GAIA data during all the mission, from 2014 to 2019. Every cycle (from 5 months to 1 year), this super-system should process all the data of GAIA premiliminary catalogue and, at the end of the mission, realise the final processing that will exploit all the data collected during the 5 years of the mission, to produce the final catalogue GAIA.
To process a billion objects in 6 months means to be able to process one object in 1/60 seconde! The enormous computation power to fulfil this challenge is evaluated to 6000 GFlops/sec (6000 billions operations per seconde). The cluster required to perform these calculus will reach 6000 processor's cores at the end of the mission.
CNES GAIA team is constituted of a team of about 10 engineers, supported by the technical and industrial aid.