South African-European Federated Cloud Piloting Meeting

The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) recently participated in the Federated Cloud Piloting at Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Italy from 10-11 September 2019.

The purpose of the meeting was to launch the pilot demonstration project of a South African – European federated cloud to support collaboration on SKA Pathfinder data intensive large programs between South African and European research teams. This meeting sought to build the project structure, plans and timeline for the pilot based upon the preparatory documents articulating science use cases and the technical issues and solutions for the federated cloud.

The key objectives of the meeting were:

  1. Define initial science projects for the project;
  2. Define the technical plan for the project; and
  3. Agree overall project structure, management and next steps.

Prof. Rob Simmonds and Prof. Russ Taylor both presented at the meeting, and gave a high-level overview of the objectives of the meeting and the SA-EU partnership objectives. Rob Simmonds reported on the activities of IDIA, and Russ Taylor presented on the MeerKat Large Projects and Core Data Sets including the uGMRT. Rob Simmonds also facilitated various technical talks throughout the meeting. Russ Taylor also gave a talk on the Scientific use cases of a federated cloud by highlights the role of Cloud-based Visualization of distributed big radio astronomy image sets using the Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for Astronomy CARTA, and the post processing, analytic and multi-wavelength analyses on the Ilifu Data Intensive Research Cloud. Rob Simmonds provided the participants with insights into the user experience/interface, especially in the context of IDIA’s pipelines and remote visualisation tools.

The meeting was extensive and included discussions, technical talks, and scientific talks. The participants also discussed detailed plans for collaborative projects and requirements, and paved the way forward. The meeting also witnessed the signing ceremony of the IDIA-INAF Collaboration on 3D Virtual Reality Data Analysis tool for HI cubes from SKA precursors, and can be viewed in the INAF media press video below.

The IDIA-INAF collaboration aims to enhance the radio astronomy research of the future through the use of virtual reality, and is part of the already solid collaborations between the two countries in view of the construction of the Square Kilometer Array.


Minutes to the meeting, including presentations, can be found here.

Photo and Video Credit: INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania