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Paper: Big Surveys, Big Data Centres
Volume: 505, Astronomical Surveys and Big Data
Page: 219
Authors: Schade, D.
Abstract: Well-designed astronomical surveys are powerful and have consistently been keystones of scientific progress. The Byurakan Surveys using a Schmidt telescope with an objective prism produced a list of about 3000 UV-excess Markarian galaxies but these objects have stimulated an enormous amount of further study and appear in over 16,000 publications. The CFHT Legacy Surveys used a wide-field imager to cover thousands of square degrees and those surveys are mentioned in over 1100 publications since 2002. Both ground and space-based astronomy have been increasing their investments in survey work. Survey instrumentation strives toward fair samples and large sky coverage and therefore strives to produce massive datasets. Thus we are faced with the “big data” problem in astronomy. Survey datasets require specialized approaches to data management. Big data places additional challenging requirements for data management. If the term “big data” is defined as data collections that are too large to move then there are profound implications for the infrastructure that supports big data science. The current model of data centres is obsolete. In the era of big data the central problem is how to create architectures that effectively manage the relationship between data collections, networks, processing capabilities, and software, given the science requirements of the projects that need to be executed. A stand alone data silo cannot support big data science. I'll describe the current efforts of the Canadian community to deal with this situation and our successes and failures. I'll talk about how we are planning in the next decade to try to create a workable and adaptable solution to support big data science.
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