Laboratoire d’Études du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique et Atmosphères


Data Centre

by Mickaël Coriat - published on , updated on

This service task of SNO SKATE concerns the distribution of FR606 and NenuFAR data via the LOFAR-NenuFAR data centre as well as the preparation of French participation in the SKA Regional Centers network at both global and European level.

Low-frequency radio astronomy instruments are massive data producers and require significant computational resources; if SKA1 is announced as the first "Exascale telescope", LOFAR’s long-term archive already contains 44 PB, and NenuFAR will produce several PB per year of raw data. For the French community, the Nançay Data Centre (CDN) provides the storage space and the computing (hardware and software) and data distribution means. The CDN thus enables optimal exploitation of the low-frequency radio astronomy instruments to which the community contributes, in particular the instruments located at Nançay, FR606 and NenuFAR (the production of massive data makes it relevant to process and archive them on site). Its primary objective is to support the operation of LOFAR (including the standalone mode of FR606) and NenuFAR. The possible needs for the operation of other SKA precursors such as MeerKAT or ASKAP are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Access to SKA1 data, be it archival data or observational data from PIs or Key Science Projects, is one of the main roles of SKA Regional Centres. Today, French participation in the design of the network of SRCs at the global and European level is based on several aspects: 1/ participation in the working groups set up at the end of 2020 by the SRC Steering Committee (SRCSC) in order to identify technological and methodological solutions for the future network of SRCs at the global level, 2/ technical contribution to the second SKA Data Challenge - SDC2. Through the coordination of SKA-France and GENCI, nodes of the GPU partition of the IDRIS Jean-Zay machine are made available to the community participating in the challenge, and 3/ the expertise acquired through the implementation of the CDN.

In detail, the service tasks are:

  • Maintain the scientific processing software up to date,
  • Set up means of processing and archiving LOFAR data for the French community,
  • Set up means of processing and archiving FR606 data, setting up a database,
  • Design, operation and perpetuation of the processing and archiving of NenuFAR data: nature of archived data, of online data, quality control, etc.,
  • Set up access to NenuFAR data for the French and international community: members of the Key Programmes, and starting 2021, PIs of observation proposals,
  • Archive data and provide access to public data (NenuFAR data will be public after a proprietary period of one year after completion of the programme).
  • French contribution to the preparation of the future SKA Regional Centre Network: in this phase, SKAO member countries are called upon to contribute to the design and prototyping of the future SKA Regional Centre Network (SRC-Net), a global federation of resources that will be set up to process, archive, curate and scientifically analyse SKAO observation products. These activities are steered by the SRC Steering Committee (SRCSC) and evolve over time.
    Today, the main activities on which France needs to involve resources and expertise through participation in different Agile/SAFe teams led by the SRCSC are :
    • Prototyping activities of different subsystems of the SRC targeting the following implementations:
      • Distributed data management and logistics in synergy with IVOA standards
      • Visualisation and exploration of large volumes of distributed data
      • Deployable scientific platforms on federated and distributed resources
      • Authentication, authorisation and identification
      • Distributed HPC and Cloud infrastructures and services
    • Participation in the SRCSC working group on the interface between the SRC-Net and SKA users:
      • Definition of usage scenarios for data, scientific applications and associated resources
      • Definition of typical workflows for scientific analysis of SRC data, and identification of associated software requirements
    • Participation in SKA-France activities: definition and prototyping of a French node contributing to the SRC-Net and relying on a federation of resources on a national scale (OSU, regional mesocentres/data centres, national computing and data centres)