The South Africa – China Bilateral Workshop on Big Data in Astronomy will take place in Cape Town, at the Lagoon Beach Hotel, from 1-3 November, 2017.
Like many other sciences, astronomy is entering the era of big data. Here in South Africa, the development of MeerKAT foreshadows the immense data challenge of the SKA. New techniques in Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) imply tremendous growth in data associated with the emerging African VLBI network and VLBI developments in China. New instruments in China such as FAST, the largest filled-aperture telescope in the world, that take advantage of the latest digital systems will create unprecedented data sets associated with large programmes. In South Africa new technology telescopes, such as HIRAX, will create and mine new data sets to detect exquisite statistical clues to the story of the evolution of the universe. At the same time, parallel developments are occurring at optical wavelengths -- the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will face many of the same challenges as SKA. The merging of multi-wavelength data from radio to optical to gamma-ray, and mining of online data sets is becoming a critical part of the scientific endevaour.
To rise to the scientific opportunity opened up by this new generation of instruments requires the research community to develop new infrastructure, software systems, and platforms to manage, process, analyse, and mine these data sets.
This workshop will bring together South African and Chinese researchers to:
· Share information on big data challenges in astronomy in South Africa and China
· Jointly explore solutions to big data challenges
· Identify synergies and complementarity between national efforts that would enhance scientific and technical collaboration between South Africa and China
· Establish joint programmes for training and skills development in big data research and data science