Letters of Intent received in 2019

LoI 2021-2076
The impact of Big Data in Astronomy

Date: 18 August 2021 to 20 August 2021
Category: Focus meetings (GA)
Location: Busan, Republic of Korea, Korea, Rep of
Contact: Bruno Merín (bruno.merin@esa.int)
Coordinating division: Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science
Other divisions:
Co-Chairs of SOC: Álvaro Giménez (International Space Science Institute, Bern)
Joachim Wambsganss (International Space Science Institute, Bern)
Françoise Genova (Observatoire de Strasbourg)
William O'Mullane (The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, Tucson)
Volker Springel (Max-Planck-INstitute for Astrophysics, Garching)
Chair of LOC: Bruno Merín (ESA)



Big Data
Artificial Intelligence
Machine Learning
Pattern Recognition
Data Science
Data-driven Science
Science Data Platforms
Data Preservation
Data Analytics



The upcoming explosion of astronomical data in volume and complexity is about to change the way we do science. Space-based and ground-based observatories like Gaia, Euclid, LSST or SKA as well as state-of-the-art astrophysical simulations require new tools, means and methodologies for doing research. Among the new techniques range data mining, artificial intelligence, machine learning, pattern recognition and other data-driven methods.

At an ISSI Forum called `` The impact of Big Data in Astronomy ´´, held in July of 2019 at Bern (Switzerland), 26 international experts met in order to discuss these new developments (http://www.issibern.ch/forum/bigdata/). Underlying questions were, e.g.: How do large surveys and big data science change astronomy? What additional training/skills will future astronomers require? What are the challenges for data storage, data curation, data quality, data provenance? In addition to the demanding technical aspects, also “social” and “sociological” topics were addressed: How can young as well as experienced scientists be taught about these new techniques? Will the future successful scientists have to be an astrophysicist AND a computer scientist AND a software engineer? Or can future big data science only be done in teams with experts from these fields? How much knowledge in data science is necessary for an astronomer? Can young scientists knowledgeable in data science share this with “classical” older astronomers and teach them the new tools? What are the career perspectives and paths for young scientists who specialize in “data science”?

The goal of this IAU Focus Meeting is to bring together international experts in the area of data science and astronomy to analyze these questions together and identify programmatic and strategic steps that professional astronomy should embark on to take full advantage of the recent developments in data science and artificial intelligence in the XXI Century.