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Google Research Awards Millions of Core-Hours to LSST

In 2011 Google University Relations launched a new academic research awards program, Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty, offering up to one billion core-hours to qualifying proposals. We were looking for projects that would consume 100M+ core-hours each and be of critical benefit to society. Not surprisingly, there was no shortage of applications. Among those awarded were Jeff Gardner, an eScience Institute Research Scientist, and Andrew Connolly, professor in the department of Astronomy and a member of the eScience Institute Steering Committee, for their  research with the LSST.

Simulating a Dynamic Universe with the Large Synoptic Sky Survey
Jeff Gardner, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Collaborators: Andrew Connolly, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and John Peterson, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Research subject: The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is one of the most ambitious astrophysical research programs ever undertaken. Starting in 2019, the LSST’s 3.2 Gigapixel camera will repeatedly survey the southern sky, generating tens of petabytes of data every year. The images and catalogs from the LSST have the potential to transform both our understanding of the universe and the way that we engage in science in general.

Exacycle impact: In order to design the telescope to yield the best possible science, the LSST collaboration has undertaken a formidable computational campaign to simulate the telescope itself. This will optimize how the LSST surveys the sky and provide realistic datasets for the development of analysis pipelines that can operate on hundreds of petabytes. Using Exacycle, we are reducing the time required to simulate one night of LSST observing, roughly 5 million images, from 3 months down to a few days. This rapid turnaround will enable the LSST engineering teams to test new designs and new algorithms with unprecedented precision, which will ultimately lead to bigger and better science from the LSST.

Read the complete announcement of awards here.