2017-11-14 Lunch Seminar: John Swinbank

When: November 14, 2017 @noon
Where: A214, Physics-Astronomy Auditorium (PAA)

LSST: Where we are and where we’re going

Starting in the early 2020s, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will carry out a decade long survey of the southern sky. Offering a unique combination of breadth, depth and cadence, this survey will enable us to address some of the most profound questions in modern astronomy.

It will also present huge challenges: how can we collect, store, process and — most importantly! — understand the hundreds of petabytes of data which will be produced? How can we combine the statistical and algorithmic rigor needed to enable the next generation of precision cosmology with the speed and agility needed to identify and respond to transients and variable sources? How can we make vast volumes of data available to the community in a way that enables your particular science

In this talk, I will briefly review the design and scientific goals of LSST, provide an update on the current status of construction, explore some of the algorithmic and data processing challenges that the LSST Data Management team faces, and describe the key role that members of the Department of Astronomy here at UW are playing in making it all possible.





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2017-11-01 LSST/DM Brown Bag: Stephen Portillo

When: 12noon
Where: B305 Conference Room, Physics-Astronomy Building

Stephen Portillo will be discussing “Improved Source Detection in Crowded Fields using Probabilistic Cataloging”, based on his work on probabilisitic cataloging described in arXiv:1703.01303.



DIRAC director Andy Connolly attended the FIRE (Future in Review) Conference in Park City, Utah in the middle of October. FIRE has been described as “The best technology conference in the world.” (The Economist) and is the brain child of Mark Anderson (one of DIRAC’s board members).

The conference lived up to its billing and was a mix of talks and discussions on topics as wide ranging as, how the retina works, protecting intellectual property, and the loss of coral due to the warming of the seas. Andy described how by taking the data and images from telescopes such as the LSST and looking at it in new ways we can find for asteroids and transient sources.

ADAM Hack Days 2017

On October 4-5, 2017, DIRAC Institute hosted the first ADAM HackDays with the B612 Foundation’s Asteroid Institute.

ADAM (Asteroid Decision and Analysis Machine) is a project led by the Asteroid Institute, aiming to better understand threats and opportunities coming from asteroids in the Solar System. ADAM will be a cloud-based system for large-scale precise integration and analysis of trajectories of asteroids, especially those that are potentially hazardous to Earth.

The HackDays brought together DIRAC researchers, Asteroid Institute Fellows, and community supporters for a first ADAM team meeting and two days of hacking on ADAM code.

LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program

The 4th session of the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program took place at the University of Washington in September 2017!
The LSSTC DSFP is a supplement to graduate education in astronomy, intended to teach astronomy students essential skills for dealing with big data. Here’s a list of some of the things LSSTC DSFP students will learn: the basics of managing and building code; statistics; machine learning; scalable programming, data management, image processing, visualization, and communication.
Prospective students don’t need to know anything about data science to join, they just need to be excited to learn. The LSSTC DSFP is committed to building a culturally diverse student cohort, and strongly encourages applications from underrepresented members of the astronomy community.
To learn more about the program and apply, please visit the DSFP website: http://ciera.northwestern.edu/Education/LSSTC_Fellowship.php

The DIRAC Institute

The DIRAC Institute is a world leading, interdisciplinary research center that addresses fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of our universe.

Our research brings together scientists across many disciplines on a mission to understand the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the emergence of structure within the universe, the formation of galaxies, the birth and evolution of black holes, the transformations of stars, and the origins of the planets.