Astronomy NCRIS Project: Gravitational Wave Data Centre



Strategic Goals and Priorities

The Gravitational Wave Data Centre (GWDC) has been established to provide the infrastructure, training and support to enable gravitational wave researchers nationally to lead the discovery of events from the latest data on an international scale and to maximise the scientific impact of these discoveries. Data coverage includes the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo detectors as well as pulsar timing data from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and precursor facilities. Events range from close binary coalescences to gravitational waves from supermassive black holes with live streaming of data to optimised supercomputing facilities in Australia to enable real-time detections. 

The strategic goals and priorities of the GWDC will be focussed on supporting activities related to:

  • real-time and offline processing of both time-critical and multi-epoch data streams from large-scale international facilities for users around Australia; 
  • provision of petabyte-scale storage and retrieval facilities in close proximity to supercomputers; 
  • optimisation of multi-processor, multi-core, multi-compute node supercomputers and mass storage devices with high input rates; 
  • advanced use of machine (deep) learning/artificial intelligence algorithms for signal detection, astrophysical inference and visualisation; 
  • provision of online science gateways (data portals and/or virtual laboratories) to facilitate ready access to data for analysis, discovery and verification of published results.

These goals have been chosen to be closely aligned with those of the proposed SKA regional data centres as well as the activities of the Astronomy Data and Computing Services (ADACS) initiative aimed at meeting the data and computing needs of the national astronomy community in general. 

The activities of the GWDC are expected to broadly fall within five areas: 

  1. Hardware – acquiring, provisioning and maintaining the hardware required to facilitate the needs of the data centre; 
  2. Systems Support – ensuring that access to and use of supercomputing resources are optimised for ingesting, processing and understanding gravitational wave data; 
  3. Software Development – creating and maintaining the software infrastructure to support gravitational wave science workflows.
  4. Optimisation – mapping GW workflows onto the hardware capabilities of OzSTAR and the use of profiling and parallelisation of source codes to deliver maximum efficiency and speed.
  5. Training – ensuring that researchers are sufficiently trained in the use of relevant high-performance computing, data portal and associated resources. 

Strategic priorities throughout the lifetime of the GWDC will be assessed and set by the GWDC Science Advisory Panel.

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