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Astroinformatics 2013: Knowledge From Data

Astroinformatics is an exciting new discipline that has emerged at the intersection of astronomy/astrophysics and applied computer science and engineering, arising from the need to address the challenges and opportunities of exponential growth of data volumes, rates, and complexity from next-generation telescopes. Astroinformatics is e-Science astronomy, making the transition to a data-driven, computationally enabled science in the 21st century.

Turning the vast volumes of data from the new major telescopes (such as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, ASKAP, or MeerKAT, South Africa's SKA pathfinder project) into scientific knowledge is difficult. Traditional techniques don't scale up to the petabytes of data that will be produced, and delivering science from these telescopes will require astronomers to use the eScience techniques now under development. ASKAP and MeerKAT will both cross into a vast new area of untouched parameter space in radio astronomy, almost certainly encountering unexpected new astronomical phenomena that we cannot predict. In order to discover these phenomena we need to use advanced machine-learning and data-mining techniques, such as those this conference is aimed at developing, exploring and refining.

Each of the three preceeding international Astroinformatics conferences have built up a track record of discussing and testing innovative ideas, and building collaborations. These collaborations have formed between not just astronomical institutions, but also between astronomy and other disciplines, and with other commerical partners, to everyone's benefit. This years Astroinformatics conference will focus on the emerging science area of e-Science in astronomy, and will include invited talks, panel discussions, breakout sessions, informal group discussions and introductory tutorials for those interested. The conference aims to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide a forum for the discussion and presentation of new ideas in astroinformatics
  • Form collaborations between e-astronomers, e-scientists, engineers and computer scientisits, from different institutions, disciplines, organisations, universities, and research and commercial organisations
  • Help generate the techniques that we will need to deliver the cutting-edge science from next-generation telescopes.

Invited Speakers

  • Brian Schmidt (ANU): Discovering the unexpected in large surveys
  • Tony Hey (Microsoft): The Fourth Paradigm: Particle Physics, Astronomy, Jim Gray and Open Access
  • Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University): From SDSS to Simulations: Data Intensive Astrophysics
  • Tim Cornwell (International Head of SKA Computing): SKA and the Exaflop (Title TBC)
  • Matthew Graham (Caltech): Data ipsa loquitur - the art of scientific self-discovery
  • Tara Murphy (The University of Sydney): Astroinformatics challenges for next generation radio transients surveys
  • Chris Fluke (Swinburne University): Big data visualisation and analysis challenges
  • Stuart Minchin (Geoscience Australia): Big Data challenges in Geosciences
  • George Djorgovski (Caltech): The fourth paradigm in Astrophysics (Title TBC)
  • Giuseppe Longo (Università Federico II - Napoli): Mining Massive Astronomical data. DAMEWARE & Co.
  • Julie Banfield (CASS): Citizen Science and Radio Galaxy Zoo
  • John Zic (CSIRO): eResearch challenges (title TBC)
  • Catia Domingues (CSIRO): International Quality Controlled Ocean Database for Data Assimilation and Climate Change Studies
  • Jonathan Hodge (CSIRO): Delivering data to help manage Australia’s Coastal Ecosystems
  • Ciro Donalek (Caltech): Immerse yourself in your data: virtual reality as a visualization platform
  • Andrew Hopkins (AAO): The source finding data challenge
  • Tamas Budavari (John Hopkins University): Multiple Exposures in Large Surveys
  • David Barnes (Monash University): Biomedical image visualisation and analysis in the big data era


9-13 December 2013


CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) Headquarters, Marsfield, Sydney, Australia

Conference Dinner and Wine Tour

The conference dinner will be a 3-hour Sydney Harbour cruise with buffet dinner, including bus transport to/from Marsfield.

A wine tour to the Hunter Valley has also been arranged. Details are still being firmed up, but provisional plans are that buses will leave the conference venue after lunch on Thursday December 12, visit two or three vineyards in the Hunter Valley, and then visit a historic pub for dinner (at participants own expense, with prices starting at about $20) and will return you to Epping that evening around 10pm. In the intervening few hours you will have the opportunity to sample wines from one of Australia's premier wine-growing areas. The costs for registered participants will be covered by Sententia and USP-Lab.

We are pleased to announce that partners of invited speakers, and of overseas participants, can also join us free of charge, courtesy of our sponsors. Partners of local participants are also welcome, but we will need to charge them approximately $50 each. Please let Amanda know if you would like to bring a partner. If you would like to join this wine tour, or would like to add your partner, please let Amanda Gray know by Saturday 30 November.