Astronomy projects supported by ADACS and boosted by Pawsey expertise

Three astronomy projects were awarded embedded technical specialist support as part of the Astronomy Data and Compute Services (ADACS) Project, funded by Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.

Increasing the accessibility of our Solar System’s unique data set,
gaining insights on the chronology of surfaces of planetary bodies in
our solar system, reducing the technical knowledge barriers to HPC to
analyse and visualise data sets, and optimising visibility storage for
astronomy data are some of the challenges that will be tackled by
researchers on these projects.

ADACS is a collaboration between Swinburne University, Curtin
University, and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, funded by AAL, via the
National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.  ADACS
provides focused astronomy training, support and expertise to assist
astronomers to maximise the scientific return from data and computing
infrastructure.

Opened earlier this year, the national call for proposals
sought to identify projects which would benefit from having an ADACS
technical specialist embedded into their astronomy project for a period
of at least 12 months.

One of the selected projects came from the Space Science and Technology Centre at Curtin University,
the largest planetary science research group in the Southern
Hemisphere. The embedded specialist will help this group to get the most
out of Australia’s unique dataset that Desert Fireball Network
has built, massively increasing the accessibility and utility of the
data, with a commensurate increase in scientific collaborations.

Two groups from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
(ICRAR) were the other successful candidates. By developing a Framework
for Analysis and Visualisation of Enormous datasets Remotely (FAVER),
one of the groups is aiming to increase researcher productivity and
enhance scientific returns on investment in HPC and HPD facilities,
while also reducing the technical knowledge barriers to HPC to analyse
and visualise data sets.

The group expect FAVER to be beneficial to other astronomical
communities (e.g. radio astronomy datacubes, optical astronomy images),
as well as several other domains such as particle physics, geophysics,
oceans sciences and meteorology. The community nature of the tools
should mean that there will be a strong drive to develop them further
and enhance the codebase.

The final project focuses on developing a new deep spectral line imaging pipeline and optimised storage of UV-grid data for Australia Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder
(ASKAP) that can then be used by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)
project – one of the largest scientific endeavours in history. This
project will also optimise visibility storage methodology for ASKAP.
Focusing on a particular survey, most of the resulting pipeline
management deployment methodologies and the software will be useful for
other ASKAP surveys as well.

The involvement of the embedded technical specialist is expected to
positively impact the successful project groups with project outputs
benefitting the astronomy community as well as providing advantages to
other domains.

This is the pilot year for this embedded technical specialist
approach. We would like to thank all the applicants who submitted
project proposals and congratulate the successful projects.