The main objectives of the workshop are as follows:

  1. That both units introduce their resources and advantages to deepen mutual understanding.
  2. That both units discuss how to strengthen cooperation on the data challenge of the SKA.
  3. South Africa visits the FAST project. The Chinese team visits South African institutions and the MeerKAT project. The data exchange can be extended to other large radio projects.
  4. The issues related to big data are of interest to many domains, and both units have experience with technologies to manage big data. There is China-VO in China, while there is SA3 in South Africa. Both virtual observatories have developed for several years and have a set of mature technologies. Both units may work together on virtual observatory tools.
  5. Astroinformatics and astrostatistics are the new disciplines in astronomy. Both units aim to enhance the research on this aspect by means of summer schools, or lectures and seminars.
  6. Radio astronomers from both units may discuss radio astronomy problems at this workshop. 
  7. Exchange ideas on how Big Data and the VO could be used for development, particularly to strengthen the interest of young people in mathematics, science and technology.     

Expected outcomes

This workshop provides an opportunity for China and South Africa to exchange views on scientific and technology issues of common concern, so as to strengthen coordination and enhance mutual understanding and trust. The scheme of deep cooperation will be proposed. For example, senior scientists go abroad and give lectures, students and postdoctoral researchers are exchanged between the two units, astronomers collaborate on special scientific issues, advanced astronomical technologies are shared and communicated, and experience of software development is exchanged, and training and upskill opportunities are developed. The technologies of big data are developed, tested and improved. Collaborations are developed on issues related to data management, data analysis, data mining, and data maintenance, in support of data intensive programmes with next generation radio astronomy facilities in both countries.


Added value to Chinese-South African cooperation in Astronomy

On the basis of complementary advantages to promote pragmatic cooperation, astronomy in both units is expected to obtain substantial development, especially in the areas of radio astronomy and virtual observatories. Both countries have a need to rise to the challenge of big data.  Leadership in data science and data solutions is critical to leadership in science and for broader benefit.  The programme will together enhance expertise in China (Chinese VO, SHAO VLBI driven big data research, data solutions for FAST) and in South Africa (SA3, IDIA, SKA SA, MeerKAT, AVN, LSST) to enhance capacity in both countries.