• SKA Regional Centres: Opportunities for Industries in Australasia

    The Square Kilometre Array, or SKA, is a global next-generation radio telescope project involving institutions from over 20 countries. The SKA will be the largest and most capable radio telescope ever constructed. During its 50+ year lifetime, it will expand our understanding of the universe and drive technological development worldwide. Australia and southern Africa will each host different SKA components.

    Australia already hosts SKA precursors ASKAP and MWA, and will host SKA1-Low. Australian SKA partner and close collaborator China has build another SKA precursor FAST telescope.

    Australia, China and New Zealand participate and lead a number of major SKA Science Working Groups. While the SKA Observatory is responsible for generation of data products up to Level 6, advanced data products of Level 7 are within the scope of SKA Regional Centres (SRC). The data volume and the individual sizes of datasets will be too large to be served via the traditional download model (approximately 1PB per day). Data-centric or in-archive processing that minimise the movement of data are the preferred models for science data analysis as part of SRC. The data products need to be curated and served according to SKA policies. Multi-messenger data may need to be co-located and co-processed. Distributed science teams will need new tools, methods, frameworks and algorithms to maximise the scientific productivity.

    Technology development for the SKA Regional Centres will provide the opportunities for Australian and New Zealand ICT industries.

    Preliminary program

    Date: 28 February 2018
    Venue: TBA
    Cost: $25

    Registration: TBA (subscribe to be notified)

    9.00-9.30      SKA & SKA Regional Centers
    9.30-10.00    SKA Precursors and Technology in Australasia
    10.00-10.30  SKA Science in Australasia
    10.30-11.00  Break
    11.00-11.30   Nyriad showcase
    11.30-12.00   SRC technology development and the opportunities for the industry

  • ASRC workshop program

    Monday, 27th Nov 

    9:00 Intro and welcome

    9:10 Antonio Chrysostomou  (SKAO, UK) – International SKA Regional Centres (30 min) – presentation

    9:40 Peter Quinn (ICRAR) and Sarah Pearce (CASS CSIRO) – Progress towards an Asia-Pacific Regional Centre Network (30 min) – presentation

    10:10 Ian Bird (CERN, Switzerland)  – CERN Regional Centres and Distributed Computing (30 min) – presentation

    10:40 Morning tea

    11:10 Minh Huynh (CASS CSIRO – ICRAR/UWA) and Baerbel Koribalski (CASS CSIRO) – ASKAP (30 min)

    11:40 Randall Wayth (ICRAR/Curtin) – MWA (30 min) – presentation

    12:10 Martin Meyer (ICRAR/UWA) – MeerKAT and SKA1-MID (30 min) – presentation

    12:40 Lunch

    13:40 Youling Yue (NAO, China) – FAST Data Centre (20 min) – presentation

    14:00 Tao An (SHAO, China) – SKA China Regional Center: Preparations and Progress (20 min) – presentation

    14:20 Andreas Wicenec (ICRAR/UWA) and  Slava Kitaeff (CASS CSIRO – ICRAR/UWA) – ERIDANUS Status (20 min) – presentation

    14:40 Slava Kitaeff (CASS CSIRO – ICRAR/UWA) – Setting up the discussion framework (10 min)

    14:50 Afternoon tea

    15:30-17:00 Session 1 of actual workshop (2×40 min)


    Tuesday, 28th Nov 

    9:00-17:00 Discussion sessions


    Wednesday, 29th Nov 

    9:00-13:00 Discussion sessions

  • Australian SKA Regional Centre Workshop

    Dates: 27 – 29 Nov, 2017

    Venue: Trinity Residential College (230 Hampden Rd, Crawley WA 6009)


    Australia hosts the SKA pathfinders ASKAP and MWA, and will host the SKA1-Low. Australia participates in and leads a number of major SKA Science Working Groups. While the SKA Observatory is responsible for the generation of calibrated data products, advanced data products, like spectra or science grade catalogues, are within the scope of SKA Regional Centres (SRC). The data volume of surveys and also the sizes of individual observatory-provided data products will be too large to be served via the traditional download model. Data-centric or in-archive processing that minimise the movement of data are the preferred models for science data analysis as part of SRC. The data products need to be curated and served according to SKA policies. Multi-messenger data may need to be co-located and co-processed. Distributed science teams will need new tools, methods, frameworks and algorithms to maximise the scientific productivity.

    This by invitation only workshop focused on:

    • Overviewing the current activities, science and technical projects that are within the scope of SRC.
    • Developing the high level requirements and a roadmap for Australian SRC, with an initial focus on data from the Australian precursors (MWA and ASKAP).
    • Discussing collaboration models and common goals of Australian SRC with other SRCs around the globe, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
    • Learning from the international regional science centres of other large science projects around the world.

    Workshop program


    Minh Huynh (chair) – ICRAR/CASS
    Baerbel Koribalski – CASS
    Peter Quinn – ICRAR
    Sarah Pearce – CASS
    George Heald – CASS
    Slava Kitaeff – ICRAR/CASS
    Stuart Wyithe – University of Melbourne
    Cath Trott – ICRAR


    Slava Kitaeff (chair) – ICRAR/CASS (For urgent contacts: +61 4 0429 7414)
    Chen Wu – ICRAR
    Lisa Randall – ICRAR
    Tracey O’Keefe – ICRAR
    Andreas Wicenec – ICRAR
    Juan-Carlos Guzman – CASS
    Aidan Hotan – CASS

  • 1st Australia-China SKA Big Data Workshop

    1st Australia-China SKA Big Data Workshop Call for Proposals

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will consist of two of the world’s largest radio telescopes, producing orders of magnitude more data than any other astronomical instrument before. All this data will be used by hundreds of scientists working in multiple institutions across the globe. To fully exploit the scientific potential of the instruments and enable ground breaking scientific discoveries, it is essential for the wider SKA community to build up the expertise and develop the technologies to support the science teams during their scientific exploration of the data products released by the SKA Observatory.

    To start this process, we are pleased to announce the Australia-China SKA Big Data Workshop , which aims to provide a vibrant forum for tinkering with the latest development in SKA Big Data. This workshop is also a “somewhat different” event in terms of organisation, format and also in terms of support for the participants.

    The workshop will bring together experts from China and Australia to discuss and work together on selected topics in the broad field of ‘Big Data’ related to the SKA. As outlined below this covers not just software and algorithms, but also advanced global networking and data sharing technologies and methods. The main goal of this event is to foster and strengthen collaborations between Australian and Chinese organisations in a broad sense, including academic institutions and private companies. As an outcome we expect the workshop to seed and initiate new collaborative projects, or strengthen existing projects with additional partners. We expect to follow up with these projects within about 6 months. In order to achieve this goal in the most efficient way and also to stay within the budget, we are planning for 25 participants from each Australia and China. This is a workshop, not a conference and thus we are specifically targeting people with a high degree of technical background and skills in their respective area of expertise.

    The workshop is co-organised by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Australia and Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China. It is co-funded by the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Ministry of Science and Technology in China.

    Note: This event is specifically targeted to foster and support Australia-China collaborations and fully funded by the two governments, thus we can only support people with an affiliation in either of the two countries. In exceptional cases we may consider people from other countries, if they are part of an existing Australia-China collaboration.

    Key Information:

    Date: 10-13 April, 2017
    Location: Shanghai (exact venue to be announced)
    Participant topic proposals due date: March, 1st , 2017
    Participant notifications: March 10th , 2017

    For more information download in English or Chinese.

  • ERIDANUS Overview and Invitation for Participation

    In February 2013, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (“CAS)” and the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (“Industry”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on areas of common interest within astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. The first meeting of the joint CAS/Industry working group took place in Nanjing, China, on 11th November 2013. At this meeting, it was resolved to establish a joint China-Australia research centre in astronomy, the Australian-ChinA Consortium for Astrophysical Research (ACAMAR). The centre was envisaged as a “virtual” centre, to serve as an umbrella and coordination point for bilateral astronomical collaborations. ACAMAR was officially launched in Beijing on Saturday 12th September 2015.

    An inaugural Australia-China workshop on Astrophysics was organized by ACAMAR and held in Perth between 5 and 7 April 2016. The workshop discussed astronomical research programs in both Australia and China and also addressed the challenges both communities would face in dealing with the “big data” problem surrounding the SKA and future facilities. Both the Chinese and Australian communities expressed a strong desire to collaborate in developing data intensive astronomy capabilities and facilities in the Asia-Pacific region. This Australia-China discussion was further progressed at the 2016 SKA Workshop on the SDP collaboration and HPC challenges hosted by the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) in Shanghai between 11 and 13 May 2016. During this meeting, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the SHAO signed a MoU to conduct collaborative research covering:

    • Exchange of academic personnel for collaborative visits on data intensive astronomy.
    • Workshops and conferences on SKA and data intensive astronomy.
    • Co-supervision of PhD students on SKA Science Data Processor-related research projects.
    • Planning of the setup and operations of SKA regional support centres in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Following from these developments facilitated by ACAMAR and the international SKA collaboration, ICRAR and SHAO have initiated the ERIDANUS Project (Exascale Research Infrastructure for Data in Asian-Pacific astroNomy Using the SKA). This effort will form part of the collective work in the Asian-Pacific Region to establish SKA Regional Centres, with coordination through the SKAO Regional Centre Coordination Group (SRCCG) and the Australian and New Zealand SKA Coordination Committee’s (ANZSCC) SKA Regional Centre Working Group (ASRCWG).

    ERIDANUS Overview

    The ERIDANUS Project is a three year design study commencing in 2017, aimed at deploying prototype data intensive research infrastructure and middleware, between and within Australia and China, capable of addressing SKA-class data and processing challenges. The Project will respond to challenges identified by the SRCCG and will work in a coordinated and collaborative manner with the European Aeneas (Advanced European Network for E-infrastructures for Astronomy with the SKA) Project.

    The ERIDANUS Project will engage with:

    • The astronomical communities within Australia and China with guidance from the ACAMAR research centre
    • The providers of networking and computing research infrastructure (e.g. research network providers, supercomputer centres, commercial cloud providers)
    • National and international committees (e.g. SRCCG, ASRCWG) coordinating efforts on SKA regional centre developments
    • SKA precursor/pathfinder projects – 21CMA, FAST, MWA, ASKAP, to enable large scale prototyping and the support of specific science programs

    The Project will identify the opportunities within Australia and China to take advantage of existing and planned e-infrastructure and will target specific astronomical research efforts in the region to deploy and benchmark prototype systems and middleware.

    The work program of the ERIDANUS Project will consist of activities in:

    1. Data flow architectures from observatories to processing centres to archival research facilities
    2. Execution frameworks for radio astronomy work flows on highly parallel and hybrid computing environments
    3. Strategies and systems to monitor and control the cost of power and sustained performance per watt
    4. Networking optimisation, stress testing and planning
    5. Cloud computing options
    6. Support of a specific Australia/China radio astronomy project by addressing its data processing and storage needs within the next three years
    7. Work with specific industrial and commercial partners within the region to design and deploy prototype systems
    8. Coordination with the SRCCG on the design and implementation of SKA data and processing challenges
    9. Coordination in particular with CSIRO(ASKAP), the MWA project and in future also the FAST project on the potential usage of data from these pathfinders and precursors to implement one or more fully functional SKA data management and processing pathfinders.

    Following the design study phase of ERIDANUS, the Project partners may seek to expand the effort to fund, deploy and support the essential exascale data intensive research infrastructure underpinning SKA Regional Centre activities in the Asian-Pacific region.

    Partnership and Funding

    This paper is an open invitation to institutions, research groups and companies in Australia and China to enter into discussions with ICRAR and SHAO aimed at their participation in the ERIDANUS effort in the coming three years. At this time, the resources for the work program are limited to those available within ICRAR and SHAO. Both organizations will seek partners and support though the ACAMAR centre and will actively engage Government agencies to identify future funding opportunities. ICRAR has already engaged in active discussions with the ASKAP software development group within CSIRO/CASS and with several industrial partners (e.g. AMAZON and Nyriad). SHAO is currently in discussion with NAOC, PMO, XAO, the Inspur group, NVIDIA, Intel, CSTNET and other universities, institutes, and companies. Both ICRAR and SHAO look forward to the upcoming ACAMAR meeting in Suzhou (December 5 to 7) to further discuss collaborative opportunities.

    To accelerate the development of Australia/China collaboration on the SKA data and processing challenges, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Australia-China Science and Research Fund, has funded an Australia-China SKA Big Data Workshop. The first workshop was held in China in April 2017.

    Both ICRAR and SHAO look forward to the growth of the ERIDANUS Project partnership and to a successful effort to design and deploy systems that will be precursors of the infrastructure needed to do science with the SKA in the Asian-Pacific region.