Scanning the Southern Skies: Harnessing Big Astronomy Data with the Square Kilometer Array

Sunday, 15 February 2015: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL21B (San Jose Convention Center)
Astronomy is big business and just got bigger. This session tells the story of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world’s largest, most powerful radio telescope extending over 2,000 miles. Co-located in eight sub-Saharan states with a core in South Africa and Australia, where the view of the Milky Way is best and radio interference is least, its image resolution will be 50 times that of the Hubble Space Telescope. Technology developments in antennas, fiber networks, signal processing, and software and computing place us within reach of surveying the sky thousands of times faster than ever before. But this advance requires high-performance computing and long-haul links with 10 times greater capacity than current global internet traffic. Data collected by the SKA in one single day would take 2 million years to playback on an iPod. This symposium provides an update on the Southern Hemisphere’s flagship scientific instrument, highlighting breakthroughs of more than 70 institutes in 20 countries and their industry partners. It spotlights how the telescope’s design, construction, and operation are having a global impact on skills development in science, engineering, and associated industries. Shared with astronomers worldwide, this initial work is pushing radio astronomy to new heights and asking fundamental questions about our universe.
Daan du Toit, South African Science Ministry
William Garnier, Square Kilometer Array
Clive Cookson, Financial Times
Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa and John Womersley, Science and Technology Facilities Council
Bernie Fanaroff, Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa Project
Astronomy for Technological Capacity-Building Across Science
Gerlinde Bedoe, Coriant GmbH
The Impact of SKA on Big Data Transmission
Naomi McClure-Griffiths, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Exploring the Southern Sky with the Australian SKA Pathfinder
Anthony J. Beasley, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Riding the Radio Astronomy Carrier Wave: How Things Look from the United States
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