The leading contemporary challenges in astrophysics, such as understanding the nature of dark energy, dark matter, and the fundamental theory of gravity, are driving modern observational astrophysics toward large-scale surveys of the universe over both solid angle and redshift and with fine time sampling. This era is characterized by telescopes such as the Vera Rubin Observatory and the Square Kilometer Array. Contemporary astrophysical scientific challenges are the prime drivers of this imminent great survey era but it would not be possible without enabling technological developments such as Moore’s Law and associated advances in digital signal processing, data analysis, and image formation. In this colloquium, I will discuss recent work in phase calibration and image formation for radio interferometric arrays using new approaches made possible by supercomputing in the petascale era.
I am currently a Blue Waters Professor in Astronomy at UIUC and an affiliate faculty member at NCSA. I completed my Ph.D. in Physics in 1993, with pre-doctoral research at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville (VA). I subsequently worked as a scientist and administrator at the NRAO Array Operations Center in Socorro (NM) until 2003 before joining UIUC. My research focuses on the interdisciplinary use of advanced computing in computational science and engineering, primarily observational astronomy, in order to understand key astrophysical questions for which new avenues of scientific inquiry are made possible by these technical advances. I have previously been involved in a number of large telescope construction or commissioning projects, most recently the Vera Rubin Observatory (LSST) and the Square Kilometer Array technology development project.