IDIA and the Big Data Challenge in South African Astronomy
Prof. Russ Taylor Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, South Africa (pdf of presentation is available here)
In 2012 the ten member countries of the international Square Kilometer Array Organization awarded the site for the mid-frequency dish array of the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) as well as the innovative technologies of the second phase to a partnership of nine African countries led by South Africa. The SKA is one of the world’s largest mega-science projects and drives one of the most significant big data challenges of the coming decade. The construction of MeerKAT at the South African SKA site and the associated ambitious multi-wavelength science programs marks the beginning of the new astronomy big data revolution in Africa. The South African university community is rising to this big data challenge by collaborating to establish the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA). I will discuss the data intensive challenges confronting South African astronomers and the strategies and programs that have been initiated within IDIA to meet them.