Letters of Intent received in 2018

LoI 2020-2021
IAU Symposium on Enabling Science with Global Astronomical Facilities

Date: 16 November 2020 to 20 November 2020
Location: Perth, Australia
Contact: Slava Kitaeff (slava.kitaeff@uwa.edu.au)
Coordinating division: Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science
Co-Chairs of SOC: Peter Quinn (ICRAR)
Andreas Wicenec (UWA)
Paola Andreani (ALMA/ESO)
Michael Wise (ASTRON)
Mario Jurić (LSST)
Co-Chairs of LOC: Slava Kitaeff (CSIRO)
Renu Sharma (ICRAR)

 

Topics

Astronomical Facilities and Regional Centers
Past, Present and Future of Astronomy Archives
Multiwavelength Astronomy
Global Collaboration and Policies
Big Data and Data Centric Computing
Software for Global Astronomy
Astronomy Data Centres, Education and Citizens Science
Socio-Economic Impact of Astronomy

 

Rationale

Traditionally astronomy was always at the forefront in using the latest available technologies to detect, collect and record electromagnetic waves and signatures of particles originating from space. Recently, data analysis has replaced data acquisition as the bottleneck to discovery. Post-processing and analysis increasingly dominate resource demands, and when lacking, the efficiency of the discovery process is impacted. A key challenge of astronomy and data intensive research in general is the ability to provide data access to geographically distributed science teams. A number of large missions including SKA, LSST and LIGO are actively working on a regional centre model and the establishment of regional data and science support centres. Up to a point these can build upon the experience of specialised facilities like the HST data and support centres in the US and Europe and the ALMA Regional Centres in the US, Europe and Japan.

Computational demands of some science cases can only be met by large high performance compute (HPC) centres which may or may not be co-located with astronomical institutions. Many technical aspects can be shared across missions and computational domains: federated access, data stewardship, transfer, processing, formats, etc. Moreover, policies and multinational agreements need put in place that govern access to and usage of regional facilities.

Two recent developments have a huge potential for exciting opportunities: For one, the Australian Space Agency became operational in July 2018. Given the already existing and extensive ground station infrastructure this opens up exciting opportunities, for instance, in the area of payload data handling and processing. And secondly, Australia has recently joined ESO as an associate partner and gained access to its large optical observing facilities.

The main goal of this symposium is to bring together the operators of global astronomy facilities, astronomers that use such facilities, and service providers of regional science and data centres to discuss common issues, share learnt lessons, and establish a global exchange of knowledge and expertise for enabling and enhancing the global multiwavelength astronomy.
The hosting institution, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is deeply involved in the SKA project, but also in the planning for regional centres in the Asia/Pacific region. Perth will host the Australian Science Data Processor compute centre for the SKA1-LOW, the low-frequency part of the Square Kilometre Array, and ICRAR is the key partner of the Western Australian Government for SKA matters. We have a strong relationship and engagement with many institutions and organisations around the world. In addition to our radio astronomy research and operation of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), we have very strong links to the IR, optical and UV community through leadership of the GAMA project and engagement with the LSST with the aim to build-up a regional centre for LSST data. We have also established and are maintaining excellent regional relationships with China, Thailand, Korea and Canada.