Scalable Cyberinfrastructure to support Multi-Messenger Astrophysics
Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (MMA) is an exciting new field of science that combines traditional astronomy with the brand new ability to measure multiple signals -- such as gravitational waves, gamma rays, and high-energy neutrinos -- that originate from individual celestial events. But, the promise of MMA can be realized only if sufficient cyberinfrastructure is available to rapidly coordinate, combine, and analyze the large-scale distributed data from a multitude of astronomical detectors and observatories. The goal of the Scalable Cyberinfrastructure to support Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (SCiMMA) project is to assess MMA's technical requirements by carrying out community engagement efforts, and then support these requirements by developing cyberinfrastructure and software systems.
SCiMMA's main directive is to identify the key questions and cyberinfrastructure projects that are required by the MMA community to take full advantage of current facilities and imminent next-generation projects, and begin prototyping systems to meet these needs. Anticipated products of the project include: 1) cyberinfrastructure and software prototypes that support the integration of and communication between various MMA facilities; 2) a community white paper that presents an in-depth analysis of the cyberinfrastructure needs and the opportunities for collaborations among astronomers, computer scientists, and data scientists; and 3) a strategic plan for a scalable cyberinfrastructure institute for multi-messenger astrophysics laying out its proposed mission, identifying the highest priority areas for cyberinfrastructure research and development for the US-based multi-messenger astrophysics community, and presenting a strategy for managing and evolving a set of services that benefits and engages the entire community.
SCiMMA has so far developed substantial prototype cyberinfrastructure and software systems for MMA communication, including:
HOPSKOTCH, a cloud-based system of Kafka data streams to support secure MMA alert distribution with identity and access management integration, and
hop-client, an open-source Python package that individuals in the MMA community can use to authenticate and connect to
HOPSKOTCH. These systems are described on the Projects webpage and are available at SCiMMA's GitHub Organization along with the rest of the SCiMMA codebase.
SCiMMA has engaged the MMA community through a public seminar series consisting of over a dozen presentations from astrophysicists, computer scientists, and cyberinfrastructure developers that are freely available on Youtube. SCiMMA also led a collaboration with the SuperNova Early Warning System (SNEWS) to prototype a new version of their internal MMA network using
hop-client, which is described in a publication on arXiv as well as on the Projects webpage.
SCiMMA's systems are also in use by other MMA organizations, including: the Astrophysical Multimessenger Observatory Network (AMON), IceCube, the LIGO collaboration, and the Time-domain Astronomy Coordination Hub (TACH).