French subtitles for the SKA Trailer “Discovering the Unknown”

We are happy to announce that, thanks to the collaboration between SKAO, CNRS/INSU and SKA-France, the SKA Trailer “Discovering The Unknown” is now available with French subtitles.

LAB officially involved in the SKA DISH Consortium

The Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux (LAB) is now officially involved in the activities of the SKA DISH consortium. Based on its internationally recognised expertise on the ALMA project, LAB is, in particular, actively collaborating in the development of the highest frequency receiver (Band 5) of SKA1.

As the DISH consortium is currently in the process of renewing its mandate, a letter from Phil Diamond (SKA Director-General) was sent to the SKA-France coordination to formalise the important role of LAB in this phase of finalisation of the SKA1 design.

Code optimisation work in collaboration with ATOS-Bull

We reported in previous eNews the successful organisation of scientific workshops within the French signal processing community, and of industry workshops with the main RTO and the biggest software and hardware companies in France potentially interested to the SKA.

As a first concrete result, SKA-France has now identified about 15 researchers sharing radio data reduction algorithms, working presently in collaboration with ATOS-Bull for code optimisation and architecture testing. The initial tests are focusing on the optimisation of state-of-the-art algorithms developed by C. Tasse (Observatoire de Paris), whose imaging tool (DDFacet) is currently being implemented in the LOFAR and MeerKAT Surveys pipeline. The development of the algorithm has seen an intense collaboration of C. Tasse with the South African group of Prof. O. Smirnov (Rhodes University and SKA SA) and has been the object of an enthusiastic publication in the last SKA-South African News.

During the last SKA Engineering Meeting, the algorithm optimisation work coordinated by SKA-France between industry and academic partners was presented to members of the Science Data Processing (SDP) SKA consortium, who appreciated the originality of the approach as well as the expected impact on SKA performances.

In this framework, on July 13, 2017, John Bancroft (Director of INTERACT Project and Manager of Industry Engagement in the Research and Innovation Office of Auckland University of Technology, and SDP member) presented at the last meeting of the New Zealand SKA Alliance (NZA) an overview of the work performed in France by the ATOS-Bull Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming (CEPP) on C. Tasse’s code “DDFacet”. The slides, provided to John by ATOS-Bull and SKA-France, are available here for interested readers.

SKA-France Integrated Energy Management Workshop

Participants to the SKA-France Integrated Energy Management Workshop

SKA-France organised a workshop on integrated management of the whole energy chain for the SKA, from the detector to the output of the data centers. Invited participants, both from industry and research institutes, convened on April 12, 2017 at CNRS/INSU premises.

The meeting started with a welcome speech of G. Perrin (CNRS/INSU, Deputy director, Head of Astronomy & Astrophysics Division). After an update about the SKA project by M. Perault (CNRS/INSU, Observer for France at the SKA Board) and the SKA-France recent activities and progresses by C. Ferrari (SKA-France coordinator), G. Marquette (CNRS/INSU, SKA French Industry Liaison) introduced the main aims of the meeting. These included:

  • the discussion of clever integrated energy management solutions for SKA cost and energy saving;
  • the initial presentation of a big collaborative project between industry and academic participants within the SKA-France coordination.

The meeting also included the presentation of new possible industry partners and an update from companies already in contact with SKA-France. More information can be found at the SKA-France web page.

Recent SKA related talks in French scientific meetings

A meeting of the French Galaxy Cluster Euclid Group led by S. Maurogordato (OCA) and J. Bartlett (APC) was held on May 3rd and 4th, 2017 in Paris (APC Laboratory). C. Ferrari (SKA-France coordinator) was invited to present a talk about “The SKA-Euclid Synergies for galaxy cluster studies”.

The SKA-France coordination was involved in the organisation of the Transient Sky (TS2020) workshop. The meeting was held from June 20 to June 22, 2017 at LAL department in Orsay (France) and supported by the French National Programme for High Energies (PNHE) and Science Department of the University Paris-Sud.

In view of new major facilities that will cover the whole electromagnetic spectrum and additional messengers, like neutrinos and gravitational waves, the main aim of the meeting was to federate the time-domain French astronomy community. The expected contribution of the SKA and pathfinder instruments (including the French NenuFAR array) were presented by two experts of the field, Stéphane Corbel (AIM, USN) and Julien Girard (AIM).

The SKA-France coordinator was invited to present the SKA project to the meeting Journées MAESTRO[1] 2017 (June 23rd 2017; Marseille, France).

The talk – focused principally on the SKA requirements in terms of data analysis, processing and storage – captured the audience, mostly specialised on Big Data problems and/or solutions in the astronomical field. Very importantly, the two major astronomical facilities that were presented at the meeting (SKA and LSST) share similar methodological issues related to data handling, as well as main scientific interests, such as transient sources and cosmological studies.

In June 2017, the SKA-France coordination was also invited to present the SKA project and its scientific, technological and industrial preparation in France to a few CNRS panels, mostly interdisciplinary and beyond the astronomical field.

Report provided by Chiara Ferrari, Coordinator of SKA-France