Tackling the SKA engineering challenges of tomorrow

10 November 2015

Representatives from CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science are attending the second annual SKA Engineering Meeting this week in Penticton, Canada, where over 200 engineers have gathered to consider the engineering challenges of the future mega-science project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

This meeting follows the 2014 SKA Engineering Meeting in Perth, as well as the SKA Science Meeting held earlier this year. The aim of the 2015 SKA Engineering Meeting is to provide a global overview of the status, progress and way forward for the project in terms of engineering and management, with a summary of the science goals. During the meeting, the members of the consortia will have the opportunity to present on their contributions to the design of the telescope, and provide a status update of progress in each of the work-packages. 

This week will offer a series of workshops that considers specific challenges, including RFI, architecture and interfaces, as well as the opportunity for the international consortia to hold face-to-face meetings within their teams, with the SKA Office, as well as other members of the science and engineering communities.
CSIRO is involved in 7 of the 11 SKA R&D consortia driving the design of the project:

  • Dish (DSH): leading the design and verification of the antenna structure, optics, feed suites, receivers, and all supporting systems and infrastructure for the SKA1-mid telescope.
  • Infrastructure-Australia (INAU): leading the Australian team on critical infrastructure, such as power provision, telescope foundations, access and the housing of the supercomputing facility, as well as site-monitoring equipment (for weather and RFI), water and sanitation, and communications.
  • Assembly, Integration & Verification (AIV): a key partner in preparing all activities at the remote sites to incorporate existing infrastructure.
  • Central Signal Processor (CSP): as partners in this consortium, CSIRO is driving the design of the beamformer for SKA1-low.
  • Telescope Manager (TM): partnering in the design of hardware and software necessary to control the telescope and associated infrastructure.
  • Signal and Data Transport (SaDT): partnering in the design of the hardware and software necessary for transmitting data between all the parts of the SKA.
  • Science Data Processor (SDP): partnering in the design of computing hardware platforms, software, and algorithms needed to process outputs from the correlator into science data products.

The SKA project is now in pre-construction phase, and the outcomes from this week's gathering will have a valuable impact on pushing the project towards the construction phase in 2018.

Follow the discussion on Twitter using #SKAEngCon15.


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