| In 2001 the META Group observed that increasing 'volume', 'velocity', and 'variety' of data in business was giving rise to necessary changes in data management approaches. Since then, this '3V' definition for 'Big Data' was extended with 'veracity' and 'variability'. With the Square Telescope Array (SKA) and other large-scale science infrastructures, science is also entering into the Big Data era; the SKA is posing one of the biggest data challenges ever.
For the SKA it is clear that a substantial amount of science analysis will take place at a regional or national level. Given the size and complexity of the data at hand, regional science data centres would form a crucial supportive link between the scientists and the observed data at the telescope sites.
The SKA is in the process of finalizing the preliminary design phase, and preparing for the detailed design phase, with a scheduled review (CDR) at the end of 2016. In this phase the role of regional science data centres needs to be further defined. Questions to be addressed include to which extend regional science data centres need to capture copies of the data, and which science communities such centres would serve.
In this context the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) and ASTRON have decided to join forces to develop expertise for data centres serving our science communities. This would be aimed at SKA science, but also at other scientific fields such as VLBI, and future long wavelength radio astronomy at frequencies below the Earth's ionospheric cut-off.
The picture shows prof Mike Garrett, director of ASTRON, signing the MOU. At his right side: prof Zhiqiang Shen, deputy director of SHAO and representing prof Xiaoyu Hong, director of SHAO. At the left and right side of the picture respectively dr Tao An, heading the SHAO-CRATIV centre, and dr ir Albert-Jan Boonstra, scientific director Dome.