THERE’S A LOT TO CATALOGUE OUT THERE // IMAGE: NASA; ESA; G. ILLINGWORTH, D. MAGEE, AND P. OESCH, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ; R. BOUWENS, LEIDEN UNIVERSITY; AND THE HUDF09 TEAM

Big data virtual radio astronomy centre promises potential

Multiple industries and sectors may benefit from development of new data science infrastructure


MINISTER OF SCIENCE KIRSTY DUNCAN IS SHOWN THE COSMOS BY CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR SAMAR SAFI-HARB. SAFI-HARB AND DEAN OF SCIENCE STEFI BAUM RECEIVED FUNDING TODAY FROM CFI.

Dean of Science Stefi Baum, and Canada Research Chair Samar Safi-Harb, and colleagues are partnering with colleagues at the University of Toronto and six other Canadian institutions as well as international partners to develop a virtual radio astronomy data centre. The project received $10 million in new CFI funding to create the innovative astronomical data systems that will usher in a new era of discovery.

Modern radio telescopes collect terabytes of data everyday, an overwhelming amount. U of M physics and astronomy researchers in collaboration with computer science researchers working on this new project will turn the raw data into images and catalogues that astronomers can use to investigate cosmic magnetism, the evolution of galaxies, exotic stars, and more.

“This work will directly benefit Manitoba in several ways,” Baum says. “First, the infrastructure that we develop will have a diverse range of potential applications through new visualization, data mining, and deep learning techniques to medicine, finance, remote sensing, agriculture and a host of other applications which involve large databases of information. Second, we will produce trainees who will be highly proficient in signal processing, data-intensive research and high-performance computing, all key for the growth of innovation and industry in Manitoba.”