Kick-off meeting of “Maison SKA-France”

As announced during the First SKA France Day, SKA-France coordination, together with its private partners, has decided to move forward with “Maison SKA France”. This new structure is intended to be not only a forum for members to organise their participation in the preparatory work for the SKA, but also an instrument to respond to the need for an innovative financial approach for large research infrastructures.

The “Maison SKA-France” includes today five research organisms (CNRS, Paris Observatory, Côte d’Azur Observatory, Orléans University and Bordeaux University) as well as six private companies (AirLiquide, ATOS-Bull, Callisto, FEDD, Kalray, Thales).

The kick-off meeting of Maison SKA France took place on February 1st, 2018 in the magnificent Cassini Room of the Observatoire de Paris.

New member of the SKA-France Coordination Team

“I have worked at Observatoire de Paris on the structure and evolution of galaxies, using a number of millimetre wave radio telescopes and telescopes worldwide. I had also been vice-president of Observatoire de Paris, then from 2001 to 2003, I had been in charge of astronomy at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS/INSU); in that period I was involved on the programmatic side in the beginnings of the ALMA project. From 2004 to 2006, I had been President of the French astronomical Society (SF2A).

Then, from 2005 to 2007 I had been director of a space laboratory near Paris, Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale. During that period, I was the project manager for Astronet, a FP7 Eranet aimed at producing a science and infrastructure roadmap for the European astronomy, of which I was the initiator together with Anne-Marie Lagrange.

Between 2007 and 2017, I had workedat CNES, the French space agency, first as Head of the Space Science, Microgravity and Exploration office in CNES, then deputy director of the directorate for Innovation, Applications and Science in charge of the scientific directorate of CNES. In November 2017, I left CNES and joined LERMA department at Observatoire de Paris, with the role of coordinator for SKA related activities within Paris Observatory. I am very happy to work for SKA-France, in a very active team for a fantastic project.”

In addition to her role within Paris Observatory, Fabienne has joined the SKA-France Director’s Team, being in charge of coordinating the Big Data and HPC activities within SKA-France.

French SKA White Book on arXiv

The French SKA White Book is now available through the arXiv electronic archive and distribution server for research articles.

Signal processing workshop at AIM

On December 19th 2017, an informal workshop on advanced tools for radio imaging was held at the AIM laboratory, hosted by Julien Girard and Anaelle Maury.

Guest speakers were Cyril Tasse (GEPI/Observatoire de Paris) and Mickaël Coriat (IRAP), who gave a demonstration of DDFacet (Tasse et al., 2017) and KillMS tools on simulated and real data sets. These tools are good candidates to tackle the modern data calibration and imaging challenges raised by SKA-class instruments and their huge data volume.

The workshop attendees could familiarise with DDFacet and KillMS through simple hands-on sessions with the support of the Nançay Radio Observatory, which provided access to its computing facilities. Ten people from various groups and projects (including ALMA) attended the workshop.

Next workshop to be held will focus on the basics of data calibration and imaging for non-expert users of LOFAR and the instruments to come, MeerKAT and NenuFAR, precursor and pathfinder’s of the SKA.


On January 24, 2018, an informal meeting related to the on-going preparation of the future European SKA Regional Center (SRC) was organised in Paris by the SKA-France coordination in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Vilotte (in charge of HPC and Big Data activities within CNRS-INSU). Michael Wise (coordinator of the H2020 AENEAS project for the design of the SKA European data center) and Stéphane Requena (Member of the Board of Directors of PRACE and Director of Innovation & Technology at GENCI) were invited to this discussion.

The aim of the meeting was to start brainstorming on possible joint actions by AENEAS and PRACE in the framework of EDI (European Data Infrastructure) and EOSC (European Open Science Cloud), in order to address specific needs of the future SRC through pilot studies undertaken at European level. Existing European Data Infrastructures, such as PRACE, will be integral parts of establishing the research platform necessary to support SKA science. GENCI consortium, which represents France in the European PRACE infrastructure, is interested to play an active role in setting up this European cooperation.

Meeting with INRIA

On February 16, 2018, SKA-France organised a meeting together with the French National Institute for computer science and applied mathematics (INRIA). After a general overview of SKA provided by the SKA-France director, the main objective of the meeting was to focus on the computing challenges of the project, its workflow and on the organisation of the SKA Regional Centres, extensively described in the presentations by Miles Deegan and Rosie Bolton, from SKAO.

Representatives from several INRIA teams (STACK, Polaris, Corse, HiePACS, Alpines, TADaaM, Avalon, Storm, Regal/Delys) attended the meeting, together with the Deputy Scientific Directors in charge of three research departments (“Networks, Systems and Services and Distributed Computing”, “Applied Mathematics, Computing, and Simulation”, “Perception, cognition, interaction”).

Participation of SKA-France to the New Zealand annual Computing for SKA Colloquium

From February 13 to February 16, the French SKA Industry Liaison Officer (ILO), Gabriel Marquette (CNRS/INSU), attended the New Zealand annual Computing for SKA Colloquium (C4SKA), preceded by the Science for SKA Colloquium (S4SKA), and gave a talk about SKA-related activities in France, focusing in particular on the French industry involvement within the project.

AENEAS All-hands meeting in Nice

After the kick-off and first All-hands meetings of the H2020 project AENEAS “Advanced EuropeanNetwork of E-infrastructures for Astronomy with the SKA” (February 28th and March 1st, 2017, Den Haag, The Netherlands; October 18th to October 20th, 2017, Granada, Spain), the second All-hands meeting was held at Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice (France) from March 26 to March 28, 2018.

Report provided by Chiara Ferrari, Coordinator of SKA-France