Next-Generation Radio Interferometric Imaging for the SKA 2015

A Royal Society South Africa-UK Scientific Seminar

Last week saw the first workshop on Next-Generation Radio Interferometric Imaging for the SKA 2015, with the aim of promoting scientific collaboration between South Africa and the UK, focusing on next-gen radio interferometric imaging techniques for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and pathfinder telescopes.

The SKA promises exquisite radio observations of unprecedented resolution and sensitivity, which will lead to many scientific advances. However, the imaging pipelines of current radio interferometric telescopes have been identified as a critical bottleneck in the “big-data” regime of the SKA. A lot of progress has been made recently to develop new radio interferometric imaging techniques, for example those based on the revolutionary new theory of compressive sensing.

VLA dish

VLA dish

The workshop brought together experts in radio interferometry, with experts in image processing and compressive sensing, to bring emerging radio imaging techniques to bear on real interferometric data.  A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to hack sessions to work together on codes and data.

We started with a brainstorming session collectively editing a Google Doc, which soon took on a life of its own!  The plan was to come back together after a coffee break to finalise projects and people to focus on them — but that wasn’t necessary.  By that time everyone had self-organised and started working together on many exciting projects!

It was great fun to get our hands dirty with code and data, while experts from a broad range of different areas were on hand to provide support.  Lot’s of progress was made during the week and we have a number of ongoing projects now that were initiated during the workshop.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing how these progress.  We’ll keep you updated!

Sundowners during the workshop  (Courtesy of Rahim Lakhoo)

Sundowners during the workshop (Courtesy of Rahim Lakhoo)

Many thanks once again to our sponsors:

rslogo_NRF_SouthAfrica

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