Development of a Prototype SKA Regional Centre

Development of a Prototype SKA Regional Centre

The SKA Regional Centres: the core of the SKA scientific exploitation

The SKA Regional Centres (SRCs) will consist in an international network that will provide access to the SKA community to the Observatory data products, which will not be science-ready. Users will interact with these data products, requiring tools and processing power to generate, visualize and analyse Advanced Data Products (ADPs), which may also include e.g. numerical simulations and models.


In summary, the SRCs will be the core where SKA science will be performed, and will provide:


 By the time the SKA begins regular operation, it will generate a raw data rate close to 1 TB/s. SKA will be the greatest public data research facility (several orders of magnitude larger than the second phase of the Large Hadron Collider, LHC), and it is recognised as one of the “Big Data” challenges for the next decade.


It will be at the SRCs where the challenge of extracting scientific knowledge from the SKA will start, since data products will not be in the final state for science analysis and direct delivery to end users will be unfeasible. As an enormous public data research project, these scientific datasets will need to be shared in an international community of collaborating teams and organizations, and distributed over SRCs spread around the globe: SKA will change the way in which science is done, and the core of this change will be the SKA Regional Centres, whose design is on-going.


The AMIGA members, actively involved in the design of the SKA Regional Centres (e.g. H2020 projects), are now preparing the required infrastructure and expertise, and have started the development of a Prototype SKA Regional Center as a transversal project involving members of several IAA departments and units and as part of the strategic plan of the IAA recently awarded Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence program. Very recently, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities has awarded IAA-CSIC with more than 400.000€ for the acquisition of computational equipment to develop the core of an SKA Science Regional Centre at the IAA (EQC2019-005707-P).


The prototype SKA Regional Centre will be built on top of shared computing infrastructures, as part of the European Open Science Cloud, reinforcing multidisciplinary collaborations started with the “Proyecto de Excelencia e-CA: e-Ciencia Andaluza” (TIC-02302), led by Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro. The Regional Centre prototype will provide support for SKA science goals while accelerating the transfer of knowledge to the society in a transparent way, and contributing to the position of Andalusia as a reference in Open Science and innovation in creating scientific digital contents, contributing to the Digital Transformation.


The Regional Centre prototype aims to promote transformational science via pathfinders and Key Science Projects, expanding IAA capacity and expertise in data-intensive research to enable exploitation of SKA pathfinders following Open Science and FAIR principles and playing a major role in SKA Key Science Projects. It will become a transversal facility for IAA scientists that will enable the exploitation of synergies with other scientific projects and consolidate previous efforts into the Spanish SKA Office and the SKA Communication office.