Looking Towards the Future of Radio Astronomy with the CyberSKA Collaborative Portal
Advances in radio and digital processing technologies are enabling the construction of radio telescopes that will be able to probe the sky to unprecedented depths at radio wavelengths. With the vast amounts of data that will be produced by such telescopes comes a greater need for a cyberinfrastructure framework to connect the communities of astronomers with the data, processing and visualization tools, and each other.
CyberSKA (http://www.cyberska.org) is an on-line, collaborative portal that is aimed at addressing the evolving science needs of future radio telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA will be the world's largest radio telescope when completed. As the portal develops, it will provide an environment where astronomers, engineers, technical and administrative staff, educators and students and even the general public can access and share data and computing resources and collaborate more effectively with each other. The portal will enable such functionality without users needing to be aware of the underlying technical details.
Towards this end, the portal is currently being used by communities associated with existing SKA Pathfinder projects such as GALFACTS and PALFA. The portal is built on top of an open source social networking platform called Elgg. Elgg provides many Facebook-like social networking features such as friends/contacts, groups, messaging, activity feeds, blogs, bookmarking, tags, wikis, media/document sharing, and so forth. Within the portal we are integrating services, applications, cloud and high performance computing resources and data residing at distributed sites. The demonstration will focus on highlighting the existing functionality and utility of the portal and on illustrating the long term vision of the portal.
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