The Astroinformatics 2013 meeting, hosted by CSIRO, is now over. This successful conference discussed advances in data processing, manipulation and management – crucial topics in modern astronomy. The agenda is here, along with a nearly complete list of presentations, and you can follow on Twitter with the hashtag #astroinfo. There are videos of the first four days on youTube.
George Djorgovski gave the conference summary, and here is his slide that summarizes what he saw as the major challenges facing Astroimformatics:
Here are some observations of my own:
- The talks on SKA and its pathfinders are uniformly excellent – they give an introduction to the goals of the SKA, the computational challenges they face and the work that has begun to meet them.
- There was considerable discussion on the need for a scalable cross-match engine to support interpretation of SKA data and SKA pathfinder project data. A number of groups are working towards this goal, but it is unfortunate that funding reductions for the VAO precluded full development of such a tool.
- Other fields face similar challenges to astronomy, and a number of talks describe such work, especially geophysics and oceanography.
- It is clear that real-time visualization of complex data sets is essential.
- There is a clear need for training new scientists in new techniques, and changing the career structure to give greater rewards to software and data production.