Data Intensive Astroparticle Physics

The research area Data Intensive Astroparticle Physics within Linnaeus University Centre for Data Intensive Sciences and Applications (DISA) works with the detection and the study of high energy gamma-rays coming from the sources in the Universe.

The Universe is our home and we need to understand how it works. The understanding of the Universe and its mechanisms requires sophisticated and expensive experiments based on the Earth's ground or on satellites.

The scientific focus of the Data Intensive Astroparticle Physics research group is the understanding of particle acceleration in extra-galactic sources, in particular in active galactic nuclei. Our experimental method is based on Very High Energy Astronomy, i.e. the detection and the study of highest energy gamma-rays coming from the sources in the Universe.

Our research is experimental and phenomenological, with a strong focus on data analysis and the interpretation of the observations. We participate in large scale international projects as the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) and the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA).

Blind-search character

Gamma-ray astronomy typically has a blind-search character, as many parameters of the observed sources are unknown a-priori and vary over time. This requires a steady computational analysis of recent observations. Also, the re-analysis of old datasets based on new and improved analysis and calibration techniques is required regularly.

In order to cope with the implied uncertainties, a large multi-dimensional parameter space (sensitivity calculations, significance testing, parameter estimations) needs to be covered. The amount of raw data to be analyzed is currently reaching the level of one Petabyte.

In order to run data-reduction and statistical analysis within a reasonable timeframe, high-throughput access to these data is mandatory. A prerequisite for success is the availability of adequate storage and computing infrastructure offered by Linnaeus University's High-Performance Computing Center (HPCC).

Data Intensive Astroparticle Physics, as well as HPCC, is an application area within the Linnaeus University Centre of Excellence (LNUC) for Data Intensive Sciences and Applications.

Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

Ongoing work

Our current activities within the framework of Data Intensive Sciences and Applications are related to the ALTO, HESS and CTA projects.

  • Satyendra Thoudam is performing large-scale Monte Carlo simulations in the SNIC Lunarc cluster in Lund of the full array of the ALTO experiment, using the Corsika and Geant4 software packages.
  • Tomas Bylund, doctoral student at DISA, is producing, still in the Lunarc cluster, the Instrument Response Functions (IRF) of a low energy gamma-ray analysis configuration for the H.E.S.S. experiment in Namibia. The IRF generation requires large data storage, large computing power and large data transfers from Germany, where the H.E.S.S. data are stored.
  • Andreas Haupt is responsible for the Swedish CTA grid node, running also in Lunarc, where the CTA Monte Carlo simulations are performed.
  • Mohanraj Senniappan, doctoral student in the Astroparticle Physics research group, is working on the gamma-ray analysis of Active Galactic Nuclei with the Fermi-LAT data stored in Lunarc, and will be responsible for the background discrimination analysis for the ALTO experiment.

Read more about these projects at the web page of the Astroparticle Physics research group.