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Indiana University renews contract to support WIYN Observatory

Research Technologies team to continue to manage data, images from one of the world’s most powerful telescopes

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University recently signed a three-year operational service agreement with the WIYN Consortium to continue managing the One Degree Imager Pipeline, Portal, and Archive (ODI-PPA) system.

The agreement extends service from October 2018 through September 2021 for roughly $317,000. The efforts from IU are led by the Scalable Compute Archive (SCA) team within UITS Research Technologies. (Research Technologies is a Pervasive Technology Institute center.)

The WIYN Observatory, located on Kitt Peak outside Tucson, Arizona, operates a 3.5-meter optical/near-infrared telescope—one of the most powerful and effective mid-sized telescopes in the world. The One Degree Imager is a gigapixel camera larger than a human head that produces extremely large images, and enables astronomers to observe very faint objects, discriminate between stars and distant galaxies, and delineate detailed features of objects like star-forming regions and nebulae.


We are thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to continue helping WIYN and astronomers using One Degree Imager to attain their research goals.

Arvind Gopu, manager, Scalable Compute Archive team

One Degree Imager’s large field of vision and high-resolution images foster advances in the study of galaxy formation and evolution, stellar and chemical evolution, detection of extrasolar planets, high-redshift supernovae and stellar variability.

Of course, none of these advances can come to fruition if scientists can’t access the extremely large images the One Degree Imager produces, and few, if any, individual researchers have the customized software required for processing. Since the ODI’s commissioning in 2012, IU’s Scalable Computer Archive team has supported its secure data archiving and retrieval, web portal and visualization, and pipeline processing needs through the ODI-PPA.

“Beyond a convenience, for many of WIYN’s researchers ODI-PPA is vital: their scientific productivity with the One Degree Imager instrument would likely grind to a stop without it,” explained Eric Hooper, WIYN observatory development scientist and chair of the science steering committee.

Robert Henschel, director of the Science Community Tools (SCT) division of IU Research Technologies, affirms the project’s utility. “The ODI-PPA project leverages IU’s investment in high performance computing systems and dedicated professional staff, and makes those resources easily accessible to a broad range of scientists,” he said. “I am very excited to see this successful collaboration continue.”

ODI-PPA currently serves roughly 50 terabytes of data stored on the IU Scholarly Data Archive. The data includes more than 60,000 raw images and more than 20,000 processed images run through a calibration pipeline using IU cyberinfrastructure and curated by a WIYN operator/scientist. The portal has also enabled more than 4,000 data processing and download jobs that seamlessly utilize IU compute resources.

“ODI-PPA has been a flagship project for our team for several years, and we are proud of the highly customized, feature-rich portal and integrated pipelines. We are thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to continue helping WIYN and astronomers using One Degree Imager to attain their research goals,” said Arvind Gopu, manager of the Scalable Compute Archive team.

About Research Technologies
UITS Research Technologies  provides the robust, reliable supercomputing and storage systems, advanced media and interactive visualization technologies, widely used scientific, analytical, and bioinformatics applications, and proven professional training, consultation, and support services that embody the core of Indiana University's advanced scholarly and artistic cyberinfrastructure, thereby enabling enhanced productivity and discovery in research computing, and amplifying the talents of local and national researchers. Research Technologies is a Pervasive Technology Institute center.

About the Pervasive Technology Institute
IU’s Pervasive Technology Institute is a collaborative organization with seven affiliated research and development centers, representing collaboration among the IU Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO (which leads the effort), University Information Technology Services, the Maurer School of Law, the Kelley School of Business, the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences at IU. Its mission is to transform new innovations in cyberinfrastructure and computer science into robust tools and support the use of such tools in academic and private sector research and development. IU PTI does this while aiding the Indiana economy and helping to build Indiana’s 21st century workforce.