Square Kilometre Array

Artists impression of SKA-low on the MRO with ASKAP. Credit: SKAO.
Artists impression of SKA-low on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, Australia’s SKA site. Credit: SKAO.

The first phase of the SKA Observatory will include two instruments—SKA1-Low in Australia (operating between 50-350 MHz), and SKA1-Mid in South Africa (operating between 0.35-14 GHz).

SKA1-Low will be comprised of 131,072 dipole antennas distributed over 512 stations, while 197 15-m dish antennas will comprise SKA1-Mid. By the time these instruments are in steady state operations in the mid-2020s they will generate a raw data rate close to 1 TB/s. Although the raw data will be processed by the Central Signal Processing (CSP) and the Science Data Processing (SDP) subsystems of the SKA, the output of data products that will be disseminated to science teams are estimated to be 600 PB per year across both arrays.

SKA Regional Centres

The network of SKA Regional Centres will receive science data products from the SKA Observatory. Access to SKA science data products, as well as the tools and processing power necessary to fully exploit the science potential of those products, will be provided via a Science Gateway. Access to science data products will be irrespective of a SKA user’s geographical location, or whether their local region or country hosts an SRC.

The key objectives of SRCs are to provide:

  • Long-term, persistent storage capabilities.
  • Sufficient computational resources to support processing and analysis of SKA data by the astronomical community at the appropriate scales and with reasonable latency.
  • Long-term data management and curation including: metadata allowing easy data discovery; examination of data provenance; and combination with other existing, relevant data sets.
  • Security and data protocols capable of supporting a wide range of access paradigms from fully open access public datasets to proprietary data for individuals or consortia.
  • Porting and maintenance of the necessary radio astronomy software stack to the cloud platform.
  • Documentation, training, and user support for SKA researchers.
  • An environment that enables innovation in research and successful collaboration.

Opportunities for collaboration with AusSRC on SRC Technology Development Themes

The global network of SRCs will need to distribute, archive, curate, manage, process, analyse, and visualise very large amounts of data. For many of these tasks, the technology is yet to be developed at an SKA appropriate scale, creating opportunities for digital industries to collaborate with the AusSRC Design Study Program on the following technology themes: