Opportunity for teams and individuals to register their interest in participating in SKA Science Data Challenge 2

September 16, 2020, from Astrolists

Details of the second SKA Science Data Challenge have been announced which will see participants analyse a simulated datacube 1 TB in size, in order to find and characterise the neutral hydrogen content of galaxies across a sky area of 20 square degrees.

Neutral hydrogen – or HI – exists in large quantities beyond the visible edges of most star-forming galaxies. Emitting light at a fixed radio wavelength during occasional electron ‘spin-flips’, HI traces the rotation of galaxies, allowing astronomers to infer the amount of mass – both visible and dark – contained within. The unprecedented sensitivity of the SKA will be used to map HI out to the formation of the first galaxies, just 380,000 years after the Big Bang. This period, known as “Cosmic Dawn”, began some 13.5 billion years ago. The challenge dataset will be a simulation of an SKA HI observation up to a distance of 4 billion light years.

In order to provide such a large dataset for analysis, the SKA has teamed up with high performance computing facilities around the world. Participants will be invited to compete in teams and create accounts at one of those facilities, on which the data will be accessed and processed directly.

Teams and individuals are asked to register their interest here so that the amount of computational resources required can be gauged.

Further details of the challenge can be found in the SKA’s Contact magazine (issue 5) at https://www.skatelescope.org/ska-magazine/