INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "Remote visualization of 3D radioastronomical Big Data for SKA Regional Centres"

  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas   Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía   Excelencia Severo Ochoa   HR Excellence in Research
February, 4th 2020
(4) Enhanced Science infrastructure and research capabilities

The AMIGA team at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) is an interdisciplinary group actively involved in the SKA (Square Kilometre Array), a next generation radio telescope which will be the largest scientific infrastructure on Earth and will deliver 600PB/yr to a network of SKA Regional Centres (SRCs). The SRCs will provide access to SKA data and resources for their exploitation. The PI of this position (LVM) coordinates the Spanish participation in the SKA, with strong support from J. Garrido (JG, coadvisor of the proposed Project), and her team is involved at both scientific and technical levels. AMIGA complements fundamental science with applied e-Science research, aiming to enhance scientific work, transparency and Open Science. The team contributes to the development of standards for the Virtual Observatory (VO) and is a member of the ESCAPE H2020 project, aiming to address the Open Science challenges shared by ESFRI facilities. The group participated in the SKA Science Data Processor design, contributing to the SKA Preservation and Delivery subsystems. AMIGA also participates in the European SRC design (AENEAS H2020 project) and LVM is nominated by the Ministry to represent Spain in the international SRC Steering Committee. She leads the development of a Precursor SKA Regional Centre at IAA. LVM has mentored 6 PhD theses and 17 postdocs and 7 other staff. AMIGA provides a unique opportunity in Spain for a PhD candidate to become involved in SKA and the SRCs. The large size of the SKA data (2TB-112TB/data product) will change how science is done, moving to a new paradigm where scientists can no longer download data. New research on visualization of 3D radio data is needed, since the existing implementation of hierarchical tiling of sky regions in the VO ecosystem (HiPS IVOA standard) lacks interactivity and cannot be used for scientific analysis unless the data is downloaded. This constitutes the research context of the PhD work.


The Doctoral Fellowship INPhINIT Incoming Programme is devoted to attract young researchers willing to carry out their PhD project in research centres accredited with the Spanish Seal of Excellence Severo Ochoa, María de Maeztu or Health Institute Carlos III and Portuguese units accredited as “excellent” according to the evaluation of the Fundação de Ciência e Tecnologia.
The overarching aim of the PhD Thesis is to explore innovative solutions to visualize SKA precursor Big Data during the scientific analysis, this within the framework of the IAA SRC activities. This work differs from traditional approaches that focus on using domain specific software that runs locally. In collaboration with experts within the AMIGA team the candidate will:
1.Review existing formats for multidimensional data.
2. Develop a data processing API: The candidate will have to implement an API that will convert radio-astronomy data cubes into vectorized data that can be treated as shapes in 3D modelling software. In addition, s/he will have to implement a format transformation of astronomy data into the selected 3D graphical format (preliminary work was done with X3D: DOI:10.3847/0004-637X/818/2/115) . This process will be parameterized to allow customization depending on the science case, aiming to enable the use of general-purpose software to handle astronomy data.
3. Design and build an interface to access an archive of 3D data such as those to be generated by SKA and precursor telescopes. The candidate will implement a VOcompliant interface based on SODA (Server-side Operations for Data Access) astronomy standard in order to provide interactive visualization of 3D radio data in the SRC precursor by using the vectorized data.
4. Produce high-quality videos. S/he will automatize a parametrized generation of videos using Blender engine to display the objects and structures inside. The resulting developments will be deployed on top of the SRC cloud e-infrastructure and will make use of the IAA SRC data archive. S/he would collaborate with teams in key SKA countries, such as South Africa, Australia or the Netherlands, with which AMIGA has established engineering collaborations. In addition, s/he will work following Open Science principles (increasingly recognised in scientific careers), an area in which AMIGA team plays a key role at an international level.

Period (months): 
36 months

IAA is an equal opportunity institution. Applications to this program by female scientists are particularly encouraged.

Should you need any further information or assistance concerning the application, please contact the IAA at severoochoa[at]