How the Data Flows

Once the telescopes record the Cherenkov light of a cascade, any undesirable “noise” in the image will be suppressed to reduce its size before it is analysed in real time. If any of the real-time analysis reveals an unexpected gamma-ray signal, alerts will be generated to adapt the CTAO observing schedule and to notify other observatories. This instant alert system will help to ensure CTAO and its partners do not miss significant cosmic events. Processed data will then be transmitted to central computing facilities for further processing and to be archived. 

The CTAO is a BIG DATA project. The Observatory will generate hundreds of petabytes (PB) of data in a year (~3 PB after compression). One petabyte is equal to one million gigabytes (GB)!

Reconstructing a Gamma Ray

Hardware and Software

From handling the proposal submissions until the dissemination of data, the CTAO Central Organisation’s Computing team, with the support of In-Kind Contributors, is working to develop a package of hardware and software products to support the flow of data. Operating from the CTAO Science Data Management Centre (SDMC) in Zeuthen, Germany, they will coordinate with several off-site data centre partners for the Observatory’s data processing and simulation needs and are directly responsible for the installation of the on-site data centres and control rooms at the two array sites. 

This overview diagram illustrates how the different systems interact with the primary processes behind the Observatory’s science operations: the submission, execution and return of processed data associated with a Principal Investigator’s (PI’s)scientific proposal.

Software Systems  

  • ACADA – Array Control and Acquisition Software
  • DPPS – Data Processing and Preservation System
  • SUSS – Science User Support System 
  • SOSS – Science Operations Support System 

Hardware Systems 

  • ICT – Information and Communications Technology 
  • Array Clock System 

Open and FAIR

We believe that everyone should be able to access the potential of our science products so that the opportunities for discovery are limitless. That’s why the CTAO is the first observatory of its kind to operate as an open, proposal-driven observatory providing public access to its high-level science data and software products. The CTAO works with partners ESCAPE and IVOA to adopt international standards and FAIR (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability) principles.

Credit: ESO

Computing News