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April 2011  •  Volume 4 Number 1

LSST/ICRAR agreement to tackle data deluge

Artist’s impression of the SKA dishes. Credit: SPDO/ Swinburne Astronomy Productions

LSST and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) have signed an agreement to work together on designing common database systems for optical and radio astronomy and research tools that will enable direct comparisons of objects they observe. The agreement funds a post-doctoral appointment to facilitate multi-wavelength astronomical research with very large data collections from LSST and the radio survey telescopes such as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).

ICRAR Director Prof. Peter Quinn said “this collaboration will give us a great head start in preparing for the enormous data challenges of the SKA and will allow access to both optical and radio data to probe the Universe across all wavelengths”

Jeff Kantor, Project Manager for LSST Data Management, points out “once you have separated the incoming data into sources and objects, it makes little difference to the system if the signal is at optical or radio wavelengths. So it makes sense to join forces with ICRAR to find data processing solutions for the enormous databases that will be generated by both of these amazing telescopes.”

Using supercomputers located at the new Pawsey Centre in Perth, ICRAR’s Professor Andreas Wicenec is heading up the international team designing data systems for the SKA radio telescope. “We expect to detect more than 100 billion objects, which is at least 10 times more than we’ve observed in the last 400 years of astronomy. This represents an immense challenge but potentially huge scientific reward”, said Professor Wicenec.

ICRAR is a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia providing research excellence in the field of radio astronomy.

Article based on a media alert written by Pete Wheeler, ICRAR


LSST is a public-private partnership. Funding for design and development activity comes from the National Science Foundation, private donations, grants to universities, and in-kind support at Department of Energy laboratories and other LSSTC Institutional Members:

Adler Planetarium; Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL); California Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon University; Chile; Cornell University; Drexel University; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; George Mason University; Google, Inc.; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Institut de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3); Johns Hopkins University; Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) – Stanford University; Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Inc.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL); Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL); National Optical Astronomy Observatory; Princeton University; Purdue University; Research Corporation for Science Advancement; Rutgers University; SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Space Telescope Science Institute; Texas A & M University; The Pennsylvania State University; The University of Arizona; University of California at Davis; University of California at Irvine; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Michigan; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of Washington; Vanderbilt University

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