Image credits: ASKAP/CSIRO, SKAO and ICRAR/Pawsey.

The AusSRC Design Study Program is $4m program, funded by the Australian Government and CSIRO. The program is lead by ICRAR and CSIRO in collaboration with the Pawsey Centre, the MWA, the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (ERIDANUS Project), AAL, and the international SRC Steering Committee.  The program will define an AusSRC design and costing based on requirements and experiences gathered from the Australian and regional communities and the SKA precursors. The program will initially run from 2019 to 2022 and produce a submission to the Federal Cabinet for Stage 1 operational funding.  Stage 1 (2022-2027) will focus on the operational support for science with SKA precursors. Stage 1 will also engage in SKA-LOW commissioning and early science from SKA-LOW. A Stage 2 proposal and deployment of AusSRC would take place in the 2028-30 period.

The program will utilise a top-down analysis of SRC requirements in global collaboration with other SRCs and the SKAO, as well as a bottom-up approach solving practical computational and data problems within the SKA precursor projects, leading to the design and prototyping of the architecture of the future Australian SRC.

A significant body of work is required to develop the SRC concept. The program will use a top-down analysis of SRC requirements in global collaboration with other SRCs and the SKAO, and a bottom-up approach solving practical computational and data problems within the SKA precursor projects, leading to the design and prototyping of the architecture of the future Australian SRC.

The AusSRC Design Study Program will identify, assess, and test potential solutions for providing the tools, services, and people needed for the Australian (and regional partner) research communities to utilise SKA data outputs. When completed, this is expected to bring together a range of resources, potentially including Australia’s HPC network (including the Pawsey Centre); other HPC capabilities; commercial cloud services; AARNet; and overseas facilities.

Program Key Activities

  • Develop AusSRC requirements based on inputs from the SKA, international SRC development, and Australian SKA Precursors;
  • Develop a technical architecture of the AusSRC, prototype its key elements, and develop an implementation plan;
  • Execute a range of projects focused on supporting and improving the science outputs of ASKAP and MWA in order to enable the development of precursor driven requirements, and assist the precursors with their specific needs;
  • Participate in development and verification of requirements for international SRCs, particularly through prototyping and deploying elements of infrastructure between AusSRC and ChinaSRC;
  • Participate in the SKA and SRC data challenges;
  • Develop and prototype the architecture of the SKA Science Archive in AusSRC and its API for post-processing;
  • Prototype solutions for visual data analysis of SKA-scale data and test within the ASKAP and MWA science projects;
  • Develop and present the Australian Government with the AusSRC Business Case/Plan;
  • Establish links and collaborations with the international effort to develop the SKA Regional Centres, participate in established SRCSC working groups;
  • Establish links, develop strategies and collaborative projects with Australian ICT companies that can assist with achieving the above goals;
  • Establish links to other relevant projects such as AENEAS, OzGrav, ASVO, WLCG (computing for LHC) etc.

Program components

AusSRC will be a significant investment. The AusSRC Design Program will collect in depth requirements working with ASKAP and MWA, as well as the SKA and other SRCs. These requirements will then drive the design of the System Architecture.

The three system domains—Science Archive, Post-processing, and Visualisation—will inform the System Architecture design to enable interactions between the components via various interfaces and communication protocols.

The System Architecture will drive the requirements on the Infrastructure domain, which will be prototyped considering forthcoming and prospective technologies.

The Applications and Algorithms domain will use external interfaces and protocols to interact with the system components to do specific user defined tasks.

Finally, the Operations and User Support domain will define how AusSRC systems are to be maintained and operated, and what support to provide users.

While the key objectives of the program are focused on enabling science with SKA data in Australia, the proposed approach is to use the most challenging (from the point of view of data and computing) ASKAP and MWA science cases to inform AusSRC design. This approach is also targeted at creating tangible outcomes for ASKAP and MWA through addressing the challenges in post-processing, storing, visualising, and analysing Precursor data. Participation in the ASKAP and MWA projects will allow the AusSRC Design Program (DSP) team to develop transferable skills and expertise for the future AusSRC.

AusSRC DSP personnel employed through partner organisations are deployed by the Program within the ASKAP and MWA teams to assist with specific. The Program Leader deploys personnel on tasks determined by the project/task skill-set required.

The ERIDANUS Project is a three year design study between (and within) Australia and China from April 2017. ERIDANUS is aimed at deploying prototype data intensive research infrastructure and middleware capable of addressing SKA-class data and processing challenges. Read more at ERIDANUS.

To enquire more about the program please contact us.