Shanghai moves forward with SKA Regional Centre development

by Cassandra Cavallaro on 07 December 2018
SKA Regional Centres (SRCs) were high on the agenda when SKA Organisation Director-General Prof. Philip Diamond travelled to China this week to meet the deputy mayor of Shanghai’s Municipal Government, Qing Wu.
Shanghai Meeting
SKA Director-General Prof. Phil Diamond (centre) met Shanghai Deputy Mayor Qing Wu (fourth from right) to discuss the latest developments in the project.

After receiving an overview of the current progress of the project, Mr Wu confirmed that the Shanghai Municipal Government will support the building of a Chinese SKA data centre, part of a global network of computing centres which will store and provide access to SKA science data products for astronomers around the world.

“Shanghai is accelerating its efforts to build a globally influential science and technology innovation centre,” said Mr Wu. “An SKA Regional Centre will support Chinese scientists to conduct SKA science cooperation and exchanges with their international collaborators in a deep and comprehensive manner.”

The meeting was also attended by Mingbo Chen, deputy secretary general of Shanghai Municipal Government, Quan Zhang, director of the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission, Jianyu Wang, chair of the Shanghai Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Academician Shuhua Ye.

“We have had a very productive meeting here in Shanghai – it was an excellent opportunity to discuss ways that we can further strengthen collaboration within the project, and we appreciate the strong support of the Shanghai Municipal Government,” said Prof. Diamond. “The construction of a Chinese SRC will play an important role in the scientific operation of SKA.”

“I am also pleased that Deputy Mayor Wu has accepted my invitation to attend the SKA’s Engineering and Operations Conference, which will be in Shanghai in November 2019.”

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences lead the country’s involvement in the SKA. In particular, the first SKA prototype dish, SKA-P, was assembled by the 54th Institute of China Technology Electronics Group Corporation (CETC54) in Shijiazhuang earlier this year, bringing together components from China, Germany and Italy. Shanghai Astronomical Observatory has already established the first prototype of an SRC.

“As a founding member of the SKA Organisation, China has been a committed partner from the early days of the project,” Prof Diamond added. “We look forward to building upon that relationship as we head towards the establishment of the SKA Observatory as an Inter-governmental Organisation, and for the construction and operation of the SKA telescopes.”