The Inter-university Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy is a partnership of four South African universities. The founding partners are the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape and North-West University. In February 2016 the University of Pretoria joined the partnership. And in October 2016 we welcomed SAP as our first industry Associate Partner. The overarching goal of IDIA is to build within the South African university research community the capacity and expertise in data intensive research to enable global leadership on MeerKAT large survey science projects and large projects on other SKA pathfinder telescopes, leading to leadership on SKA phase 1 Key Science programs.
The IDIA executive consists of Russ Taylor (Director), Rob Simmonds (Assoc. Director for New Technology Initiatives) and Michelle Cluver (Assoc. Director for Development and Outreach). We have a dedicated staff currently of an administrator and three software developers in place. Over the course of the next month will be hiring three more developers, one systems support, a senior researcher in machine learning and multi-wavelength data fusion, and an additional administrator to support development outreach and our transformation objectives. We in addition work closely with teams at UCT ICTS particularly on data intensive cloud technologies. Strategic oversight of IDIA is provided by a committee made up of two representatives from each partner university, including the DVCR and one other. Management oversight is provided by a management committee with two delegates from each institution.
We have numerous senior researchers in IDIA who are typically faculty in astronomy and computer science at the partner universities, as well as a cohort of postdoctoral and graduate students. The latter will grow substantially in 2018 as IDIA will soon be issuing a call for proposals to support data intensive research projects.