Athlone TechTalks - BIG Bang Theory meets Big Data!
18:30 - 21:00
Birr Castle in the Midlands is now home to I-LOFAR, the Irish Station in the largest radio telescope in the world.
Exploring the universe from Birr and generating astronomically big data
Prof. Peter Gallagher, Trinity College Dublin/I-LOFAR
Opportunities for growth in the Irish Space Sector – Upstream and Downstream
Danny Gleeson, Space Industry Skillnet
What is I-LOFAR?
I-LOFAR is the Irish Station in a European network of radio antennas. On 27 July, 2017, the newly build Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) station in Birr Castle, Co. Offaly was officially opened. The International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) is a European Network of radio antennas, connected by a high speed fibre optic network to its central core of antennas in the north of the Netherlands. With the data of thousands of antennas together, now including the Irish antennas, powerful computers create a virtual dish with a diameter of two thousand kilometres.
The revolutionary multi-beaming capabilities of the LOFAR telescope allow astronomers to engage in multiple lines of research at once: they can look back billions of years to a time before the first stars and galaxies were formed, they can survey vast areas of the low-frequency radio sky, and they can be constantly on the lookout for radio transients originating from some of the most energetic explosions in the universe. Astronomers have been closely involved in the design of LOFAR to ensure that the telescope is optimally configured to address some of the most important questions in modern astronomy and astrophysics. These topics include: epoch of reionization, deep extragalactic surveys, transient sources and pulsars, ultra-high energy cosmic rays, solar science and space weather, cosmic magnetism, and MSSS (The Multi-Frequency Snapshot Sky Survey).
LOFAR: Science & Computing
LOFAR will have major impacts in Astronomy and IT. There are 52 LOFAR Stations, generating 3 Gbps per station, over 150 Gigabits per second, more than 6 Petabytes per year. LOFAR is a test-bed for Big Data Analytics. Opportunity for research centre in Birr linking researchers and software analysts.
Irish Space Industry
Ireland has a long established history of astronomy and space research. In recent years, Ireland has developed a thriving space industry and research community, facilitated through Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA). There are opportunities in both upstream and downstream sectors.
Upstream: Companies contributing to the space market in the areas of electronics, software and propulsion, precision engineering, optoelectronics, and advanced materials.
Downstream: There is a growing market for downstream data analytics-related applications such as Earth Observation, open source data, and scientific research. With increasingly large volumes and complexity of data (“big data”) coming from space-based systems, the fields of data analytics and machine learning are becoming very relevant. Extracting meaningful information from a wide array of sensors, science instruments, or satellites is key to maximizing the use of space technologies.