ISSAC 2012 PArticipants
ISSAC 2012 Participants Photos: Trudy E. Bell view more photos

Welcome to the website for HiPACC's 2012 International Summer School on AstroComputing, focusing this year on AstroInformatics!

Description: The data available to astronomers is growing exponentially.  Large new instruments and surveys are generating ever-larger data sets, which are all becoming publically available.  Many new observations are compared to and interpreted through new supercomputer simulations, which also produce massive data outputs. It is increasingly important to know how to deal effectively with this data avalanche.  The objective of the 2012 UC-HiPACC Astro-Computing Summer School on AstroInformatics is to train the next generation of researchers in how to bring astronomical observations and simulations to a common framework, how to deal with the big data challenge, and more generally how to exploit the power of current and coming generations of supercomputers.  The director will be Prof. Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University), and the other members of the organizing committee are Prof. Michael Norman (UCSD), director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and Prof. Joel Primack (UCSC), director of the University of California High-Performance Astro-Computing Center (UC-HiPACC).

Lectures on many aspects of AstroInformatics will be given by leading experts. UC-HiPACC, funded by the University of California, will provide most of the budget for this school, with the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) providing computational and infrastructure support. Additional funds are being sought from NSF for student support and from DOE for infrastructure support. Students will be staying in Conference Housing near SDSC on the UCSD campus (approximately $50/night). UC-HiPACC will cover lodging and travel expenses for UC-affiliated students, and some financial assistance may be available for other students.

Students must apply by filling in the online form at

Applications are due March 16, 2012, although it may be possible to consider late applications.  We aim to tell students who apply on time whether they are admitted by April 2, 2012.  Upon acceptance all students who plan to attend will pay a registration fee of $300. Week day lunches, coffee breaks, the school banquet, and a special excursion will be provided for attendees.

This is the third UC-HiPACC International Summer School on Astro-Computation.  The 2010 school at UCSC was on galaxy simulations and the 2011 school at Berkeley and LBNL was on computational explosive astrophysics.  A key feature of the UC-HiPACC summer schools has been the access by all students to accounts on a powerful supercomputer on which the lecturers have put relevant codes and sample inputs and outputs, and the inclusion in the school of workshops each afternoon in which the students can learn how to use these tools.  For the 2012 summer school on AstroInformatics, all students will have accounts on the new Gordon data-centric supercomputer at SDSC, and many relevant astronomical datasets and simulation outputs will be put on Gordon's massive FLASH memory for the use of the students.

Speakers and Topics will include:

Main lecturers (3 lectures each and lead afternoon workshop):

Tamas Budavari (Johns Hopkins University) - multidimensional indexing, GPU programming, analytics
Andy Connolly (University of Washington) - time-domain information analysis, especially for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)
Darren Croton (Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia) - from simulations and semi-analytic models to mock catalogs for galaxy surveys
Gerard Lemson (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching, Germany) - the Millennium simulation databases and the evolution of virtual astronomical observatories
Risa Wechsler (Stanford University and KIPAC) - analyzing supercomputer cosmological simulations and comparing with observational surveys
Rick White (Space Telescope Science Institute, STScI) - creation and use of large astronomical databases, including the Multi-mission Archive at STScI (MAST)

Additional lecturers (1 or 2 lectures each, possibly lead afternoon workshop):

Mike Norman (SDSC / UCSD) - analyzing outputs from large ENZO cosmological simulations, the future of AstroInformatics
Peter Nugent (LBNL / UC Berkeley) - time-domain astronomy, especially the Palomar Transient Factory
Joel Primack (UCSC) - comparison of observed and simulated galaxies; evolution of high-performance astro-computing
Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University) - the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the evolution of AstroInformatics
Matt Turk (Columbia University) - visualizing and analyzing observational data and simulation outputs

For further information and answers to questions please contact Sue Grasso in the UC-HiPACC office (email: , phone: 831 459-1531).