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Radio Astronomy on DotNetRocks - ICRAR and SKA

Episode #664 Thursday, May 19, 2011

Carl and Richard talk to professors Andreas Wicenec and Kevin Vinsen of the ICRAR and SKA project. SKA is the Square Kilometer Array for radio astronomy. The concept is to build a really huge array of radio telescopes that work together to provide far deeper resolution into space. SKA plans on a first phase of 1,000 12 meter radio telescopes. Andreas and Kevin work in the Data Intensive Research Group at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Western Australia and specialise in the research require to handle the massive amounts of data that will be generated SKA.


Andreas Wicenec

* Born in Germany * PhD in Physics and Astronomy from the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen with a thesis dissertation on the mapping of the optical diffuse background radiation using data from the ESA Hipparcos satellite. * During graduate, post-graduate and post-doctoral appointments involved in the software development and reduction of photometric and astrometric Tycho data from the Hipparcos satellite leading to the publication of the Tycho-1 catalogue of more than 1 million stars in 1997. A second reduction of the data lead to the release of the Tycho-2 catalogue in 2000 containing more than 2.5 million stars. The article describing the catalogue was among the 40 most cited articles in the 40 years history of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics in 2009. * Excellence award from the director general of the European Space Agency for the contribution to the success of the Hipparcos/Tycho satellite mission. * Involved in the early mission design studies of the DIVA and GAIA astrometric satellites. * Joined ESO in 1997 as an archive specialist. Involved in the final implementation of the archive for ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the ESO Imaging Survey. * Between 2002 and 2010 ESO's Archive Scientist and lead of ALMA archive subsystem development group. * Designer of the peta-scale bulk storage system used by the ESO archive, the ALMA archive and the NRAO data archives. The various installations in the North and South Americas, Europe and Asia are keeping the VLT, Hubble, Hubble Legacy Archive, the VLA, eVLA and VLBI and the ALMA data. * involved in the Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (AVO) and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). Co-author of the IVOA VOTable standard. * since 2010 Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia leading the Information and Communication Technology Program of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) to research, design and implement data flows and high performance scientific computing for the Murchison Wide Field Array (MWA), the Australian SKA Pathfinder and the SKA. * Scientific interests and publications in the fields of high precision global astrometry, optical background radiation, stellar photometry, dynamics and evolution of planetary nebulae and observational survey astronomy and the related scheduling and computational concepts. * Author and co-author of about 97 publications including 20 refereed papers in major astronomical journals and two articles in major astronomical review books.

Kevin Vinsen

* Since 2009 Research Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia working on the design of data intensive HPC systems in support of the ICRAR signature themes of HI, Variable Universe and Data Intensive Research. * One of the lead engineers on WAMbot the 4th placed entry on the international MAGICIAN 2010 competition * I was the Chief Software Engineer for a large European Defence Company. Responsible for 360+ software engineers across Australia. This role included developing working practices for the various disparate areas of Software Engineering ranging from simple forms systems for civilian use, through to safety critical combat management systems; educating the engineering staff about new technologies and approaches; contributing engineering governance to bids for large complex IT systems for both civilian and military purposes. * I have worked on large scale data mining for financial institutions * Scientific interests and publications in the fields of astronomy, robotics and electric vehicles. * Author and co-author of about 20 publications.


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