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A Big Data Journey While Seeking to Catalog our Universe

January 16, 2019 / HPCwire

It turns out, astronomers have lots of photos of the sky but seek knowledge about what the photos mean. Sound familiar? Big data problems are often characterized as transforming data into insights – which is exactly what some ambitious scientists are working to do with “Sky Survey” data. A Sky Survey is essentially astronomer speak for “lots and lots of images taken by telescopes, along with information of when and where they were taken.” The Celeste collaboration is a group of scientists who have worked to catalog the visible universe in a way never before accomplished. They seek to create and refine a catalog which can detail the placement and characteristics (such as brightness and rotation) of every visible object in the sky. Along the way, the Celeste collaboration has already proven that one high productive language (Julia) can offer high performance “at scale” (using hundreds of thousands of processor cores for compute), and their succes...