Búsqueda de datos en el cielo

Stuart Weston found in the laboratory on a cold autumn afternoon, just before the winter. Stuart is doing a doctorate at the Aukland University of Technology (AUT) and has been responsible for collecting and distributing data collected by the two radio astronomy telescopes AUT in Warkworth. Having worked in IT business in the UK and New Zealand, he spent more than five years working in radio astronomy.

Stuart is one of the largest consumers of broadband in the country and his passion is to maximize the full potential of REANNZ

For us it was a great happiness that he has taken this system from the commercial world academia, Stuart is one of the largest consumers of broadband in the country and his passion is to maximize the full potential of REANNZ. But not everything ends here: is challenging us to cross borders and facilitate international collaboration of radio astronomers.

PhD work of Stuart’s ” Search data for statistical analysis of fuzzy images of the sky for radio: the road to EMU “. In short, their work involves collecting data about the universe at different frequencies (optical, radio and infrared). Different telescopes are used to observe the different frequencies. Thus, when researchers found some interest in a radio frequency, they embark on a manual and very slow process to see if the same object has been previously observed in other frequencies. Stuart is developing a statistical method that computers can determine algorithmically matches between different frequencies catalogs and place the results in a database. For scientists, this database will simplify the data processing system and interaction with them. As a result, scientists can spend more time analyzing their research to further advance science and allow computers do the work in which they specialize: find matches in large data sets.

The difference between a week and a day

The work certainly involves intensive data with the specific requirement to grant access to these data to colleagues at local and international level. This would not be possible in a regular ISP network. This level of data transfer requires ultra fast fiber connection. Until very recently it took weeks to transfer the data observed by the telescope. However, since the link 10Gb / s was installed from Warkworth, Stuart managed to transfer the same sets of experimental data in less than a day. “The difference between a week and a day is huge. It represents a breakthrough for my work and what I can achieve,” he says.

GPS smartphones is based on data from the telescope AUT

Part of the work of Stuart in Warkworth is to process the raw data collected by the telescope and experiments with data from organizations and institutions outside the AUT. Geodetic experiments are particularly important because they directly feed the GPS network we use every day are aware of it or not.

The GPS auto or phone is based on the data from the telescope AUT and requires reception of the data is fast. An experiment conducted on Thursday to be sent on Friday to the data processor. Once processed, the data will feed the GPS system ensuring that the latest update is available for the following Monday. “Access to a good high-speed network gives us the opportunity to meet and now also work to improve the times of this process,” says Stuart.

Looking ahead

Looking forward Stuart says he would like to break some of the laws of physics. “Even though the network is fast, always have latency problems. If we could rewrite relativity would be great, but that probably will not happen. The REANNZ network is at a point where I do not have to worry about if I to be able to continue with the work I’m doing. REANNZ is in a very advanced position. it is up to us to use the tools that REANNZ offers a better and more advanced way. “

This, however, does not prevent Stuart has higher aspirations. He wants to see a change in the use of the network in New Zealand. You want to advance your job to stop being a “data collector” and become a “data processor” and a “user data” and would like to see the same happen in other areas of science intensive of data. Would like to see the link REANNZ with Australia and the United States ‘red hot’ in return address rather than from New Zealand. “I would like New Zealand will contribute not only scientifically-level data. This is my ambition and my goal.”

We end our visit to Warkworth with lunch at the vineyard site and a sample of the Ransom 2009 harvest, the “Cosmos” Chardonnay. It seems that Stuart is not the only of the love region of space and all the possibilities that are within reach of our hands.

Published: 10/2015

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