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Data Sharing in Africa: Square Kilometre Array Telescope/Anita Loots


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High-level Meeting & Workshop on Environmental and Scientific Open Data for Sustainable Development Goals in Developing Countries. Madagascar, 4-6 December 2017

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Data Sharing in Africa: Square Kilometre Array Telescope/Anita Loots

  1. 1. DATA SHARING IN AFRICA SQUARE KILOMETRE ARRAY TELESCOPE International Workshop on Environmental and Scientific Open Data for Sustainable Development Goals in Developing Countries Antananarivo, Madagascar, September 2017 Anita Loots Pr.Eng.
  2. 2. The SKA Project The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) mega-project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope
  3. 3. SKA Bid Outcome announced 25 May 2012 • Originally SKA South Africa was administered directly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa; • In 2005 the National Research Foundation was requested by DST to take over the administration of SKA South Africa; • SKA SA and Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory is currently merging into one national facility.
  4. 4. SKA1-LOW: 50 – 350 MHz Phase 1: ~130,000 antennas across 65km SKA1-Mid: 350 MHz – 24 GHz Phase 1: 200 15-m dishes across 150 km SKA1: HQ in UK; telescopes in AUS & RSA Construction: 2018 – 2024; Cost cap: €675M
  5. 5. 3 sites; 2 telescopes + HQ = 1 Observatory Design Phase: > €170M; 600 scientists + engineers Phase 1 Construction: 2018 – 2024 Construction cost cap: €675M (inflation-adjusted) Operations cost: under development (see below) MeerKat integrated Observatory Development Programme (€20M/year planned) SKA Regional centres out of scope of centrally-funded SKAO. Phase 2: start mid-2020s ~2000 dishes across 3500km in Africa Major expansion of SKA1-Low across Western Australia Square Kilometre Array Phase 1 in a nutshell
  6. 6. SKA Global organisation • Australia (DoI&S) • Canada (NRC-HIA) • China (MOST) • India (DAE) • Italy (INAF) • Netherlands (NWO) • New Zealand (MED) • South Africa (DST) • Sweden (Chalmers) • UK (STFC) Interested Countries: • France • Germany • Japan • Korea • Malta • Portugal • Spain • Switzerland • USA Contacts: • Mexico • Brazil • Ireland • Russia
  7. 7. The SKA Science
  8. 8. Cosmic Dawn (First Stars and Galaxies) Galaxy Evolution (Normal Galaxies z~2-3) Cosmology (Dark Energy, Large Scale Structure) Cosmic Magnetism (Origin, Evolution) Cradle of Life (Planets, Molecules, SETI) Testing General Relativity (Strong Regime, Gravitational Waves) Exploration of the Unknown Extremely broad range of science! SKA Science Drivers – the history of the universe
  9. 9. SKA Big Data challenge Kilo Mega Giga Tera Peta Exa Zetta
  10. 10. SKA precursors
  11. 11. African VLBI Network of Telescopes in Africa - ensuring readiness for SKA2 The AVN project Phase 1: Ghana Phase 3: Kenya Phase 3: Mauritius Phase 2: Botswana Phase 2: Namibia Phase 3: Madagascar or Zambia Phase 3: Mozambique Phase 2: Zambia or Madagascar
  12. 12. ● Until 31 March 2017 the SKA SA programme was structured around specific projects with project teams defined and recruited on the basis of the needs of the specific engineering projects and interventions; ● With the SKA SA & HartRAO merger, the newly formed entity will become an National Research Foundation facility and will be re- structured in order to maximise efficient use of resources; ● Current engineering projects and initiatives within SKA SA include: • The global SKA telescope project; • The MeerKAT telescope project; • The African Very Long Baseline interferometry network of telescopes (AVN) project(s); • The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation (HERA) telescope project; • Big Data initiatives; • Infrastructure for MeerKAT, SKA and other telescope or geodesy projects. A South African Radio Astronomy Observatory SKA in South Africa (SKA SA)
  13. 13. Science Data Archive SKA Data flow schematic Switch SKA1-LOW SKA1-MID Switch 100 PFLOPS 130 - 300 PB/yr Users Beam former / Correlator Science Data Processor ~8 Tbps ~5 Tbps ~2 Pbps Beam former / Correlator Science Data ProcessorSwitchSwitch ~5 Tbps AFRICA AUSTRALIA SKA Regional Science Centres
  14. 14. SKA1 Scope Service Level Agreements Memorandum of Understanding In Scope
  15. 15. SKA1Regional Centres Outside SKAO scope RSA AUS • Required • capacity for reprocessing data and their analysis • storage for a long-term archive • local user support • Intent • SKA partner countries planning SKA regional Centres • National super-computing centres • Provide local support to scientists • Development of new techniques, new algorithms • Deliver SKA science Sunway TaihuLight – 93 PFlops
  16. 16. SKA Big Data focus areas
  17. 17. ● MeerKAT Science Data Processor will complete the implementation of the largest data storage system of its kind, hosted at the Centre of High Performance Computing (CHPC); ● The storage system is geared for next-generation large survey telescopes such as MeerKAT and the SKA; ● The component has applicability in industry, with low costs, while offering high performance and capacity; ● The key component in the storage system was co-developed locally as part of our beneficiation of the South African High Tech industry. Big Data - MeerKAT
  18. 18. • SKA is not an “Open Skies” telescope; • MeerKAT is an “Open Skies” telescope: • Anyone from around the world can propose to use it – formation of “Large Survey Project Teams (LSPs)”; • LSPs use approx 2/3 of telescope time for 5 years (from 2018); • Periodic calls for “Open Time” proposals for remainder of time (from 2018) – open to anyone in the world. • MeerKAT users will need to be very experienced as individuals to handle complex data sets OR join the MeerKAT Large Survey Project Teams who – collectively – will have the skills. • MeerKAT Data Policy (still tbd) will outline a proprietary period during which Principal Investigators of LSPs will have access to the date, before being released to the broader science community. • It will be very difficult to handle the enormous data sets and the community would have to develop the skills to handle the volumes of data, store and analyse it in order to do science with it. SKA and MeerKAT Data Policies
  19. 19. • For each country’s national science programme (ie Single dish telescope) • Each country decide for itself – recommendation is for “Open Skies”; • As part of the African Network of telescopes • Data Policy to be developed by all African partners but we will support an Open Skies policy; • As part of the European or other networks of telescopes: • Data of all telescopes participating in observations available to all; • The AVN project, in collaboration with the Centre for High Performance Computing, aims to teach the skills to access and use the data to do science. African VLBI Network of Telescopes Data Policies
  20. 20. Big Data - vision Towards an African Data Intensive Research Cloud (ADIRC) ●A CLOUD-based ”Big Data” solution for Africa is currently being conceptualised for the longer term to enable African partners to participate in the research activities of the SKA and broader applications to help achieve the Sustainability Development Goals and Africa 2063 vision. ●Centre for High Performance (CHPC) training intervention is a crucial enabler to realise an African Research Cloud Computing platform.
  21. 21. SKA South Africa, a Business Unit of the National Research Foundation. We are building the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope (SKA), ultimately located in nine African countries, with part in Australia. The SKA will be the largest radio telescope ever built and will produce science that changes our understanding of the universe. The African VLBI Network of Telescopes is a pre-cursor to the SKA Phase 2 stations on the continent and will ensure SKA Readiness in all partner countries. Contact information Anita Loots Pr.Eng. Email: