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Deep Sky Project Provides a Portal Into Data Universe


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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center receives about 3,000 astronomical files every night from automated sky scanning systems from around the world. The center holds a decade's worth of files comprising more than 8 million images, making it one of the largest collections of ground-based celestial images. A multidisciplinary team of NERSC astronomers, computer scientists, and engineers are working to develop a user-friendly database system and interface to provide high-resolution cosmic reference images to astronomers worldwide. "The whole concept of this project is to efficiently streamline access to massive amounts of data on NERSC's computers, basically providing a nice portal to astronomy data that we have acquired over the years," says Deep Sky project lead Peter Nugent.

Nugent outlined a strategy for organizing and delivering data to the astronomical research community, and developed the algorithms that facilitate the database's search capabilities. Nugent says that astronomy is just one of the numerous disciplines supported by NERSC that generate massive amounts of data, either through simulation, observation, or experiments, and that NERSC users simply want to share their data with other researchers around the world. Nugent believes that the Deep Sky project can serve as a model for building other extreme data-serving systems in the future.

From Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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