COMPUTING AND DATA SERVICES
Our skills, expertise, and offerings
ADACS aims to coordinate and maximise the computing and storage resources available to astronomers. This is achieved through a mixture of direct development of infrastructure, facilitating access to existing resources and support. A range of our current activities and projects is described below.
Supercomputing access and support
National Help Desk
ADACS operates a national helpdesk to provide assistance to astronomy researchers in the areas of HPC, data, and visualisation using existing helpdesk facilities at Swinburne.
OzSTAR Supercomputer Access
OzSTAR is the Swinburne high-performance computing (HPC) facility launched in March 2018. It is the successor to the GPU Supercomputer for Theoretical Astronomy Research (gSTAR) program. The facility comprises 117 nodes each with 36 Intel SkyLake X6140 CPU cores and 2 NVIDIA P100/V100 graphics programming units (GPUs). Each node in the system contains more than 4 GB RAM per CPU-core and is connected via a non-blocking 100 Gbps OmniPath network across the nodes and to a 6 Petabyte lustre-zfs storage system. More information about OzSTAR can be found on the Swinburne HPC website: http://supercomputing.swin.edu.au/.
Collaboration with ADACS enables OzSTAR to operate as a national facility for the astronomy community. A minimum of 35% of OzSTAR resources are available for use by the OzGrav Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery and an additional 20% for other astronomy usage, comprising access to in excess of 20M cpu-hours and 1M GPU-hours per year (primarily for data processing and simulations). ADACS provides specialised astronomy-focussed software support with activities including installation/optimization of software and hardware, high-level data management support, hardware testing, configuration and optimisation of the lustre filesystem for astronomy-specific usage and general user support.
Astronomy Supercomputing Time Allocation Committee (ASTAC)
ADACSS provides operational and secretarial support for the Astronomy Supercomputing Time Allocation Committee (ASTAC) which allocates astronomy-specific time on the NCI, Pawsey and Swinburne HPC facilities. Calls are announced twice per year through the mailing list of the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) and on the AAL website. More information on ASTAC, including the current membership of the committee, can be found at: http://www.astronomyaustralia.org.au/astac.html
Virtual Observatories and Data Centres
All-Sky Virtual Observatory (ASVO)
ADACS goals are closely aligned with those of the All-Sky Virtual Observatory (ASVO) project and as such there is an ongoing working relationship between the two projects, either through direct interaction or via Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL). In the past ADACS staff have been involved with supporting the Theoretical Astronomical Observatory (TAO) node of ASVO and developing the pilot for the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) node. Ongoing projects and areas of collaboration include improving the integration between the nodes, such as implementing shared authentication/access protocols, and developing data tools for data interrogation.
Gravitational Wave Data Centre (GWDC)
The goals of the Gravitational Wave Data Centre are to provide the infrastructure, training and support to enable gravitational wave researchers nationally to lead the discovery of events from the latest data on an international scale and to maximise the scientific impact of these discoveries. Data coverage includes the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (aLIGO) and Virgo detectors as well as pulsar timing data from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and precursor facilities. Events range from close binary coalescences to gravitational waves from supermassive black holes with live streaming of data to optimised supercomputing facilities in Australia to enable real-time detections.
The GWDC was established in July 2019 at lead host institution Swinburne University of Technology alongside the existing ADACS. Operations of the GWDC will be closely aligned with the general activities of ADACS, with the two teams providing an increased pool of specialized skillsets to benefit effective delivery of projects for the astronomy community. More information on the GWDC is available at gwdc.org.au
gSTAR Data Management and Collaboration Platform (gDMCP)
We will capitalise on the gSTAR Data Management and Collaboration Platform (gDMCP) to improve access to efficient and advanced data services. gDMCP will provide the necessary support to port datasets of national interest and to facilitate community in-take. ADACS will improve this service by working with the astronomy community to identify the datasets of national interest (nationally and internationally) and providing the necessary infrastructure and support to host these datasets.
Astronomy Proposal System
ADACS has built a software stack to enable the time-allocation committees for software services and ASTAC to provide an easier, faster, and more transparent time-allocation process. This software stack automates the evaluation processes and improves the efficiency of allocation and utilisation. The long-term aim is to provide a unified platform for managing all of the astronomy-focussed national computing and storage resources.
The proposal system can be accessed at https://tac.adacs.org.au/
Keck Real Time Controller (RTC)
ADACS is collaborating with Swinburne to assist in the development of a Real-Time Control (RTC) suite for the next generation of adaptive optics on the Keck telescopes. The project is part of a collaboration with the W.M. Keck Observatory (WMKO: USA), Microgate (Italy), Swinburne, ANU (Australia) and the Paris Observatory (France). Over a two-year timeframe, researchers from these institutes will cooperate to develop hardware and software to perform real-time control, simulation and data processing which will allow alterations to the mirror shape up to 2000 times per second. Swinburne (through ADACS) is contributing a combined 2 FTE-yrs of software engineering effort to the project, specifically providing GPU expertise.
This project is an example of how expertise built up and retained within the ADACS team can be leveraged to benefit a wider range of astronomy projects. The external funding has allowed the addition of a new member to the ADACS team for the duration of the project in return to access to a pool of expertise representing the equivalent effort.