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News Bits 2015


If each sand particle on every beach represented one bit....

August, 2015

JULY 2015

Astronomers shine new light on invisible dark matter

Thursday, July 9, 2015

An international team of astronomers, using data processed within the Target expertise center at the University of Groningen, announced today a series of new findings from a major dark matter survey. These are the first results from the Kilo-Degree Survey which uses ESO's VST telescope in Chile and they include as yet the most accurate measurements of dark matter distribution in groups of galaxies. Read our full news release>>

JUNE 2015

Busy during the MUSE 'Busy Week'

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The founding partner of Target, the OmegaCEN group at the Kapteyn Insitute, RUG is heavily involved in the data management of data from the MUSE instument mounted on the VLT telescope at ESO's Paranal site in Chile. MUSE is a multi-unit integral spectrograph whose strength lie in its ability to deliver both high resolution images and spectral information about astronomical objects. The MUSE consortium, which consists of seven major European research institutes gathers twice a year for a 'busy week' to discuss the scientific objectives of MUSE, share experience in processing MUSE data and draw out a plan for future observations. The latest meeting was held between 15 and 19 of June in Soreze, France where OmegaCEN team members presented the latest developments of the MUSE-WISE information system used to manage and provide access to MUSE data for the astronomical research community across the world.

A prestigious Spinoza prize for RUG professor Cisca Wijmenga

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Professor in Human Genetics and head of the Genetics Department of the UMCG Cisca Wijmenga was awarded the Spinoza prize which is the highest academic recognition in the country. In the last 20 years, she has dedicated her research to understanding the genetic origin of gluten intolerance also known as coeliac disease. Prof. Wijmenga will announce how she plans to spend the 2.5 million euros of the prize in the coming years during the official ceremony on September 18. Her initial statements suggest that she and her group will make use of the vast LifeLines database, managed by the UMCG and Target to find the genetic root cause of coeliac disease and develop personalized medicine. Read more>>

MAY 2015

Fist bio samples transfered to the brand new freezing facility of LifeLines

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The construction of a new facility for freezing of LifeLines' bio samples which started back in 2012 is now completed. Called "Life Store" and housing 180 massive freezers, the facility can store thousands of samples and keep then at -80 deg Celcius. Moreover, the efficiency of processing samples and getting them into the facility has significantly improved with current requests being completed in under 12 hours. The first samples were transfered into the "Life Store" on May 22 in the presence of LifeLines officials and the media. Read more on the LifeLines website>>

15 million grant to solve Big Data challenges of European astronomy

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Good news reached the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) at the beginning of this month. A consotrium of 22 European institutions, led by ASTRON, received a 15 million euro grant from the Horizon 2020 program to tackle Big Data challenges posed by current and future generations of telescopes as well as particle physics facilities in Europe. Brought together in this consortium, the astronomy, astrophysics and particle physics communities will collaborate to address common issues of data access, interoperability and scheduling. Read the official press release by ASTRON>>

A bit close to understanding the history of our Universe

Monday, May 11, 2015

Not a single seat was left empty at the Infoversum during this year's Target fulldome lecture show "Reading Our Cosmic History Bit By Bit", part of the EU Kijkdagen on Saturday, May 9. Read our news release and see pictures from the event.

APRIL 2015

Data from MUSE suggests dark matter may be more interactive

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Less than a year after the MUSE instrument on the ESO's VLT telescope in Chile started collecting scientific data, exciting results are pouring in. After a team of astronomers recently released the most detailed images of the Hubble Deep Field South, another team led by Durham University in the UK announced that analysis of data from MUSE observing the simultaneous collision of four galaxies in Abell 3827 cluster may hint at dark matter interacting with itself via forces other than gravity. Further studies are needed to confirm this exciting discovery which will helps astronomers and particle physicists to rule out certain theories and home in on what the true nature of dark matter is. Target is a partner in a large EU collaboration in charge of MUSE's data management. Read the official press release>>

New study uses LifeLines data to uncover the mystery of the 'tall Dutch man'

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine dived into gene and firtility data from more than 40 000 people enrolled into the LifeLines project in order to understand what led to the rapid increase in height among the Dutch population. In the last 150 years, the height of an average Dutch person has increased by roughly 20cm making this nation the tallest nation on Earth. The study suggests than natural selection in combination with environmental conditions have help the Dutch to rise above the rest of us. Read more>>

MARCH 2015

The LifeLines project visits Japan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ronald Stolk, the chief scientific officer of the LifeLines project and his colleague Bart Scheerder visited Japan for a week of seminars and meetings with biobank companies and medical research institutions. During a seminar held at the Dutch embassy in Tokyo, Ronald Stolk presented the LifeLines project stirring significant interests from doctors, medical researchers, private pharmaceutical companies and Japanese biobank organizations.Target provides data management infrastructure and support to LifeLines. Read more>>

The construction of the SKA telescope takes a major step forward

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The SKA organization announced today in a press release that the Board of directors have unanimously agreed to move forward with the construction of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) telescope to the final pre-construction phase. The SKA will be the largest and most powerful radio telescope in the world to be built in South Africa and Australia. Constructions is planned to begin in 2018 with the first early sciece observations expected in 2020. The SKA is a largely collaborative initiative with more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries involved in the design and development of the telescope.  The ASTRON led LOFAR telescope, which is a precursor to the SKA is already generating petabyte scale datasets, but this will be insignificant comapred to the 157 TB that the SKA will produce every second making it the ultimate "big data" telescope. Read the official press release >>


Astronomers use MUSE to see into the deep Universe like never before

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep Universe. MUSE looked at the Hubble Deep Field South region for only 27 hours but the observations reveal the distances, motions and other properties of far more galaxies than ever before as well as faint objects that remained invisible to Hubble. Read our news release>>

Scientists use LOFAR data to produce a record sharp radio image of galaxy M 82

Thursday, February 11 2015

An international team of astronomers led from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has used the giant radio telescope LOFAR to create the sharpest astronomical image ever taken at very long radio wavelengths. The galaxy M 82 was observed simultaneously with LOFAR stations in five countries. After the observations, the data was accessed via the LOFAR LOFAR Long-term archive (LTA), managed jointly by Target and ASTRON. The image produced from the data shows the glowing centre of the galaxy Messier 82 and many bright remnants of supernova explosions. Read more>>

Hidden Markov Models in handwritten text recognition stir interest in Japan

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Prof. Schomaker's student Jean-Paul van Oosten is a regular attendee at the International Conference on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition (ICFHR) where he presents work related to the Monk system for text recognition supported by Target. In 2013, Jean-Paul was awarded the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) best paper award. In 2014, his interaction with Prof. Seiichi Uchida from Kyushu University  lead to Jean-Paul being invited to Japan for three months to work with Uchida's group on hidden Markov models. "I consider it a great honour to be invited and I'm really looking forward to working with professor Uchida and his colleague Dr. Frinken. I hope the collaboration will be very fruitful, and we'll have a nice paper out at the end of it." says Jean-Paul. Hidden Markov models are often used to model time series and Jean-Paul is currently applying his expertise to a variety of problems as part of the Target Holding team. He is convinced that this work visit will also teach him a lot about collaboration and research which are valuabe across the academic and high-tech industry world. Jean-Paul didn't forget to add "Of course, I'm also looking forward to the experience of living in Japan!".

Standard installation of Target WISE software

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

One of the most significant technological innovations that has grown out of the Target project is the WISE technology developed for data management of large datasets in distributed environment shared by multiple geographycally spread collaborators. The WISE technology evolved from the Astro-WISE information system developed by the OmegaCEN group, a founding partner within Target, for the needs of the wide-field astronomical community across Europe. Currently, the WISE technology or core features of it are widely used by academic or industry parties in fields like medical research, ubiquitous sensing, microscopy and more. To facilitate further use of the technology, a dedicated team within Target is looking into developing standard installations of WISE that can be delivered directly to users and won't require an installation on site and subsequent training by a Target expert. In the coming weeks, the team will focus on identifying potential user groups with common requirements.

LTFS testing successfully completed

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Continually striving for improvement of our storage and computer facilities, Target has recently competed extensive testing of the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) solution for tape storage. About 80% of our storage is tape and factors like access, management and recovery of data stored on tape plays a crucial role for the success of our project. Results from the testing show that the LTFS system has clear advantages over the currently used HSM (Hierarchical Storage Management) specifically in the area of data recovery and preservation. Ongoing negotiations will take place in the coming month to look into how to secure the necessary funds needed to purchase the system and integrate it into the Target infrastructure.

Benefits of Grid computing uncertain

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

As the Target project comes to a close, our team takes a critical look at the Target storage and computing infrastructure, which should not only continue to provide services to various onoging projects, but also undergo upgrade and expansion to meet the requirements of upcoming projects like Euclid and MICADO. A recent investigation revealed that the GRID computing facilities have been heavily underused during the Target project, with users predominantly choosing to use the dedicated cluster Milipede. An obvious explanation for this is the clear advantage of a local cluster over GRID for time-critical processing. However, it is expected that the processing power for projects like Euclid will require the need of GRID computing. Parallel investigations will look into why Target users shy away from the GRID and what kind of GRID infrastructure and services are needed to maximize its utility.


The vision for the future of the northern region

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Target project, just like many others in the region is supported financially by national and European subsidies. These subsidies are distributed and managed by the central organization  Northern Netherlands Provinces Alliance (or Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN) in Dutch). Today, a compehensive interview with SNN's director Eise van der Sluis was posted on the website of the organization, detailing the ambitions and plans of SNN to drive the northern region towards economic and social prosperity in the coming years. Read the interview (in Dutch)>>

The UMCG and DSM to use LifeLines data to investigate the role of nutrition on healthy aging

Monday, January 12, 2015

As the amount of data in the LifeLines database increases, so does the research on what genetic and environmental factors govern and influence the aging process in humans. A new collaboration between the UMCG and DSM will focus on identifying how and to what extend nutrition determines how healthy the aging process can be. The LifeLines data is accessed securely by researchers across the Netherlands via workstations maintained by Target and the Center for Information Technology. More about this study can be found on the news section of the RUG website (in Dutch)>>

Prof. Popovic is the latest Scientists in Focus at the RUG

Monday, January 12, 2015

The professor behind an interdisciplinary collaboration set out to find who wrote the popular Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947, is the latest scientist featured in the In Focus section on the university's homepage. Prof. Mladen Popovic received a 1.5 million euro grant from the ERC (European Reseach Council) to support the project in the coming five years. Popovic has teamed up with carbon dating and paleography specialists, and the Target partner Prof. Lambert Schomaker who will run the ancient manuscripts through the Monk system (supported by the Target infrastructure) and use its text and image recognition algorithms to find patterns that may provide clues as to who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. See the In Focus section on Prof. Popovic here>>

New video about Target, the CIT and Big Data Astronomy

Thursday, January 8, 2015

One of the core members of the Target project, the Center for Information Technology (CIT) is producing a series of short videos about the center and the ongoing projects for their new special anniversary website. Check out the latest video with the Target coordinator, Prof. Edwin Valentijn, who talks about the role of Big Data in astronomy and how the CIT-Target partnerships helps astronomers use Big Data to solve the big mysteries of the Universe.

Last modified:09 January 2019 4.31 p.m.