Andrew J. Connolly, Professor
Contact InformationEmail: ajc@astro
Office : B355
Phone : 206.543.9541
Fax : 206.685.0403
Dept. of Astronomy
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-1580
3910 15th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98195-1580
I arrived at UW in the summer of 2007 after spending some years on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and before that at the Johns Hopkins University. This must mean that I am not afraid of cloud as both Pittsburgh and Seattle share the same number of clear days per year (not many). I work principally on large astronomical surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Large Synoptic Sky Survey. I currently run the UW data management group for LSST which works on developing software analyzing the data that will come out of the LSST and I also run the LSST image simulation group which is developing high fidelity simulations of what we expect to see with LSST. My science focuses on analyzing large astronomical data sets to study the formation and evolution of galaxies and cosmology using techniques such as photometric redshifts.
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will produce the largest digital map of the sky. Imaging half the sky every three nights it will produce over 20 TB of images each night and 1 Petabytes of catalog data per year. My interests in LSST focus on weak lensing (in particular mass tomography using photometric redshifts), algorithms for analyzing this massive data stream and high fidelity simulations (working with John Peterson and Garrett Jernigan). The Image Simulation Group provides high fidelity end-to-end simulations of the sky. These simulated images and catalogs extend to r=28 (deeper than the expected 10 year depth of the LSST coadded images) and are used in: designing and testing algorithms for the use by the data management groups, evaluating the capabilities and scalability of the reduction and analysis pipelines, testing and optimizing the scientific returns of the LSST survey and providing realistic LSST data to the science collaborations to evaluate the expected performance of LSST.
In 2006 I was on sabbatical at Google where I was project lead for Google Sky which puts astronomical images taken from a wide range of telescopes (from the Hubble Space Telescope to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Digitized Sky Surveys). Sky was released in August 2007 and at UW we maintain an interest in using these visualization tools in research and education. A range of add-ons that have been created at UW for Google Sky can be found here or you can check out the movie that combines the image simulations for LSST with Google Sky.
Cloud computing has revolutionized the way business is done on the Internet. By linking hundreds to thousands of computers together with Petabyte data storage, massively intensive (in both data and computation) tasks can be addressed. Astronomy is facing many of these issues with the next generation of surveys producing Petabytes of catalogs and tens of Petabytes of images. We work on how to make science easily scalable which represents a departure from traditional thinking in the area of high performance computing in which the data, CPUs, and memory all reside on the same physical machine with fast communication between all components. Instead the processing units only have access to a small amount of local storage and can be considered to be isolated from the other compute nodes in the cluster. Our Cluster Exploration (CluE) initiative work is a joint effort between NSF, Google, and IBM to develop tools for astronomy that can work on large compute resources.