AMIGA : Participation in the SKA: VIA-SKA

The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project aims to build a radio interferometer with up to 1 sqm collecting area, and several thousand an

The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project aims to build a radio interferometer with up to 1 sqm collecting area, and several thousand antennas distributed across continental scales with baselines up to 3000 km wide. It will cover the 70MHz-10GHz range, and up to 25GHz with the Advanced Instrumentation Program. It will be able to image the sky with a wide field of view (200 square degrees @1 GHz). Thanks to its sensitivity and field of view, the SKA will represent a quantum leap over current interferometers, as it will be able to perform high angular resolution surveys up to a million times faster than current leading radio interferometers, such as the EVLA. The enormous technological challenge this project represents has made leading radio astronomy countries to organise themselves around consortia and industry clusters. As each working package (WP) in the Stage 1 and Pre-construction phases will be assigned to international consortia. Due to the scientific interests of the AMIGA collaboration in HI evolution in the early universe, the scientific interest of exploiting the SKA and its pathfinders is clear. In this context, the VIA-SKA project was presented to the MICINN National Program for R+D Internationalisation, and in particular to its chapter on Activities Related to International Scientific Research Infrastructures. VIA-SKA (estudio de VIAbilidad de la participación industrial española en el Square kilometre Array, SKA; feasibility study of the Spanish industrial participation in the SKA) has as its main goal to prepare the Spanish participation in Stage 1 WPs when the Request for Proposals (RfP) takes place in late 2012. This goal can be decomposed in the following objectives: Identify technology niches in which both Spanish companies and research centres can contribute to the development of SKA WPs, and what benefits might be derived for the Spanish science and technology system from their participation in the SKA. Get in touch with previously identified companies and technology development centres, and discuss in detail opportunities arising from the SKA, and possibly realise their participation in the project. Interact with industrial groups from other countries, so that strategic alliances to enable participation in the final definition of the WPs can be made, and developed. Promote the creation of national consortium of research centres and companies, and propose their incorporation to the different WP consortia. Funding was awarded on December 2011, under MICINN grant AIC-A-2011-0658. Since then, VIA-SKA has been interacting with the Spanish technology and research centres interested in participating in the SKA, and has also been fostering industry participation in the project. In order to gather all information related to the SKA for the Spanish community, and register and survey the capabilities of said centres, the VIA-SKA web portal has been developed, containing more information, and details on how to participate in this initiative, which will last at least until March 2013. The AMIGA group will participate in the consortium being formed to bid for the Science Data Processor WP when the RfP is issued by the SKA organisation, and already submitted an Expression of Interest together with researchers and engineers from the Universities of Cambridge (UK, WP lead), Melbourne (Australia), Western Australia (Australia), Manchester (UK), and Oxford (UK), with the participation of CSIRO (Australia), ICRAR (Australia), MPIfR Bonn (Germany), ASTRON (The Netherlands), NZTE (New Zealand), SKA Africa (South Africa), STFC (UK), and the ICCS/LBNL (US).
 

Participation in the SKA: VIA-SKA

The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project aims to build a radio interferometer with up to 1 sqm collecting area, and several thousand antennas distributed across continental scales with baselines up to 3000 km wide. It will cover the 70MHz-10GHz range, and up to 25GHz with the Advanced Instrumentation Program. It will be able to image the sky with a wide field of view (200 square degrees @1 GHz). Thanks to its sensitivity and field of view, the SKA will represent a quantum leap over current interferometers, as it will be able to perform high angular resolution surveys up to a million times faster than current leading radio interferometers, such as the EVLA. 

The enormous technological challenge this project represents has made leading radio astronomy countries to organise themselves around consortia and industry clusters. As each working package (WP) in the Stage 1 and Pre-construction phases will be assigned to international consortia. 

Due to the scientific interests of the AMIGA collaboration in HI evolution in the early universe, the scientific interest of exploiting the SKA and its pathfinders is clear. In this context, the VIA-SKA project was presented to the MICINN National Program for R+D Internationalisation, and in particular to its chapter on Activities Related to International Scientific Research Infrastructures.

VIA-SKA (estudio de VIAbilidad de la participación industrial española en el Square kilometre Array, SKA; feasibility study of the Spanish industrial participation in the SKA) has as its main goal to prepare the Spanish participation in Stage 1 WPs when the Request for Proposals (RfP) takes place in late 2012. This goal can be decomposed in the following objectives:

  • Identify technology niches in which both Spanish companies and research centres can contribute to the development of SKA WPs, and what benefits might be derived for the Spanish science and technology system from their participation in the SKA.
  • Get in touch with previously identified companies and technology development centres, and discuss in detail opportunities arising from the SKA, and possibly realise their participation in the project.
  • Interact with industrial groups from other countries, so that strategic alliances to enable participation in the final definition of the WPs can be made, and developed.
  • Promote the creation of national consortium of research centres and companies, and propose their incorporation to the different WP consortia.

Funding was awarded on December 2011, under MICINN grant AIC-A-2011-0658. Since then, VIA-SKA has been interacting with the Spanish technology and research centres interested in participating in the SKA, and has also been fostering industry participation in the project.

In order to gather all information related to the SKA for the Spanish community, and register and survey the capabilities of said centres, the VIA-SKA web portal has been developed, containing more information, and details on how to participate in this initiative, which will last at least until March 2013.

The AMIGA group will participate in the consortium being formed to bid for the Science Data Processor WP when the RfP is issued by the SKA organisation, and already submitted an Expression of Interest together with researchers and engineers from the Universities of Cambridge (UK, WP lead), Melbourne (Australia), Western Australia (Australia), Manchester (UK), and Oxford (UK), with the participation of CSIRO (Australia), ICRAR (Australia), MPIfR Bonn (Germany), ASTRON (The Netherlands), NZTE (New Zealand), SKA Africa (South Africa), STFC (UK), and the ICCS/LBNL (US).