Dr. Shanmugha Sundaram G. A., Assistant Professor, Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore campus was selected to present a paper titled Big-Data Perspective to Operating an SKA-Type Synthesis Array Radio Telescope at the XXIX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to be held from August 3-14, 2015 at Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. A detailed version of the same has also been invited for publication in the high-impact-factor publication of Cambridge University Press, Proceedings of the IAU General Assembly. 

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is a collection of professional astronomers, active in professional research and education in astronomy located at Paris, France. The IAU is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU). It acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc) and any surface features on them. Its main objective is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU maintains friendly relations with organizations that include amateur astronomers in their membership. The national member organization that represents India at the IAU is the Indian National Science Academy. The IAU General Assembly meets every 3 years, and the 29th event is being organized by the American Astronomical Society, on behalf of the US astronomy community and the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Dr. Sundaram has shared some insights from his research paper: 

Of the two forerunner sites, viz. Australia and South Africa, where pioneering advancements to state-of-the-art in synthesis array radio astronomy instrumentation are being attempted in the form of pathfinders to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), for its eventual deployment, a diversity of site-dependent topology and design metrics exists. Towards addressing some of the fundamental mysteries in physics at the micro- and macro-cosm levels, that form the Key Science Projects (KSPs) for the SKA, and interfacing them to an optimally designed array configuration, a critical evaluation of their radio imaging capabilities and metrics becomes paramount. Here, the various KSPs and instrument design specifications are discussed, for relative merits and adaptability to either site, from invoking well-founded and established array-design and optimization principles designed into a customized software tool. Since the problem of array design is one that encompasses variables on several scales such as separation distances between the radio interferometric pair (termed the baseline), factors such as redundancy, flux and phase calibration, bandwidth, integration time, clock synchronization for the correlation process at the detector, and many other ambient-defined parameters, there is a significant component of big data involved in the complex visibilities that are to be Fourier transformed from the spatial to the radio-sky domain using a vast computational infrastructure, with robust data connectivity and data handling facilities to support this.

“After two exceedingly successful forays in the COSPAR Scientific Assembly Sessions over the past four years, this is the first such instance that a work from Amrita Center for Computational Engineering and Networking (CEN) and the department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore have been involved in such a laudable effort,” noted Dr. Sundaram.

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