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ENGAGE SKA on the top 3 of SKA´s first Data Challenge

on 28-08-2019

... Astronomers and software specialists from all over the world have completed the SKA´s First Science Data Challenge (SDC1), showcasing the community´s enthusiasm to prepare for the SKA´s complex and large data volumes. The challenge was held on July 15, in SKA Global Headquarters, Jodrell Bank, UK.

Nine teams representing 12 institutions' Consortia in 8 countries took part in the challenge. They were invited to analyse a series of high resolution images of the radio sky created through data simulations, and use software of their choosing to find, identify and classify the sources.

ENGAGE SKA from Portugal was ranked on the Top 3 of the Challenges. "This is very encouraging. The Challenge was already running for a couple of months, when we started the competition. For that reason, we adopted a direct approach to the problem using a set of tools that were already publicly available and could be fine-tuned to the problem and were also used by the top teams. It was a real challenge to deal with such large data set, but we are happy with our participation and with the results obtained", said Bruno Coelho, AENEAS fellow and researcher at IT, ENGAGE SKA, chairing the SDC1 work in Portugal.

"This is very exciting, it shows Portugal is creating an avenue for Big Data science mining, developing the skills and capacities required to handle the massive information expected from the SKA in the near future", added Domingos Barbosa, coordinator of ENGAGE SKA and also a researcher at IT.

The images show how the SKA's mid-frequency array, to be located in South Africa, would see the radio sky at three different frequencies (560 MHz, 1.4 GHz and 9.2 GHz), over three different exposure times: eight hours, 100 hours and 1000 hours. Each of the nine images filled 4GBytes (or 1074 MegaPixels).

Photo: A snapshot from the SKA Science Data Challenge image, showing a large Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) as if observed by SKA-mid at 1.4 GHz. (Credit: SKA Organisation)