Mega-science projects such as ASKAP and the SKA demand a high level of industry engagement to ensure success and sustainability.
Through ASKAP, Australia is committed to designing, building and operating what will be the most powerful survey radio-astronomy instrument in existence.
This next-generation instrument will be an important ‘test-bed’ facility for the new technologies and cutting-edge research that will feed in to the SKA design process and generate a range of opportunities for business and industry both nationally and internationally.
As part of the Australian SKA Industry Consortium (ASKAIC) and in conjunction with CSIRO, ICRAR will help to promote the availability and capacity of local industry to support the SKA endeavour. ICRAR sees many links with industry growing from its engineering and technology programs, particularly in the ICT domain.
The Centre will be active in showcasing and growing local capabilities via a range of activities including:
- procurement, commissioning and operation of a high-performance computing facility to capture and store the masses of data gathered by ASKAP. (In the first six hours of operation, ASKAP will collect more data than all of the world’s radio telescopes over the past 50 years combined)
- design and production of specialised digital processing engines for cosmic transient and VLBI science and technology programs
- prototyping and characterisation of sparse aperture array antennas, and associated radio-frequency and signal transport systems
- design and delivery of remote infrastructure (including power) solutions for the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and other MRO instruments
- establishment and operation of an electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) facility, which will be responsible for ensuring that equipment delivered to the MRO does not affect the radio-quiet state of the site
- exchange of selected personnel between radio astronomy and industry in order to bring about a greater understanding of SKA requirements in key industry sectors
- growth of radio astronomy options in educational curricula at various levels to assist providing industry with domain-literate graduates
- increased interaction with ASKAIC with a view to ensure that more WA businesses participate in national industry initiatives.
In July 2010, ICRAR held an Engineering Briefing Day for local and Australian industry representatives. Further details can be found at the Engineering Briefing Day page