Join the live workshop on zoom, starting at 08:00 AEDT Feb 2nd

Workshop format

Like the main COSPAR-2021 Assembly, the Cross-Disciplinary Workshops will feature a combination of pre-recorded talks and live sessions (panel discussions). Although pre-recorded talks will be available on-demand for the entirety of the COSPAR assembly and beyond (until Dec 31st 2021), each talk will also be assigned a unique time slot on the day of the workshop. This is to give the audience an opportunity to experience presentations together, and for live global Q&A with the presenters.

Invited talks

Hsin-Fang Chiang (Vera C. Rubin Observatory)

Bio: Hsin-Fang Chiang has a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a data management developer at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory since 2015. The goal of the Rubin Observatory is to survey the entire sky continuously for 10 years and produce 500 petabytes of images to help us address a wide range of fundamental astrophysical questions. Hsin-Fang implements end-to-end data processing workflow, executes production, and prepares data access for the observatory. Recently, she co-leads experiments to explore portable and scalable solutions in cloud environments for data hosting and processing.

Scientific Computing in the Clouds for the Rubin Observatory

Abstract: When Vera C. Rubin Observatory starts science operations in late 2022, it will scan the entire visible southern sky every night and collect about 60 PB of raw images for the 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Rubin Observatory’s data management system will process these data into 500 PB of data products and serve them on our Science Platform that enables data-driven science explorations by bringing the analysis to the data. In this talk I will discuss some initiatives at Rubin Observatory to leverage cloud computing to host our data management systems, including processing large complex workloads with high-throughput computing as well as deploying the Rubin Science Platform. I will also discuss our experience using cloud services.

Grant Miller (Zooniverse)

Bio: A former exoplanet researcher, Grant is now Project Manager of the Zooniverse citizen science platform based at the University of Oxford. His job involves managing an international community of researchers, volunteers, and web developers with the goal of enabling and progressing research across multiple diverse disciplines such as astronomy, ecology, biomedical sciences, and the humanities.

The Zooniverse Citizen Science Platform

Abstract: The Zooniverse is the world’s largest platform for online citizen science, hosting hundreds of projects across various research disciplines from astronomy to zoology. Its success is rooted in its philosophy of openness and sharing, and in its understanding of the motivations of volunteer citizen scientists and how to engage them in research. Grant will present the evolution of the platform over the last decade and how it plans to be a game-changer for astrophysics (and other fields of research) going into the next 10 years.

Ryan Abernathy (Columbia University and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory)

Bio: Ryan P. Abernathey is an Associate Professor of Earth And Environmental Science at Columbia University and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2012 and a B.A. from Middlebury College. He joined Columbia in 2013 after a postdoc at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Ryan is a physical oceanographer who studies the large-scale ocean circulation and its relationship with Earth’s climate. A central theme is how ocean mesoscale turbulence, i.e. eddies, waves, and jets on scales of tens to hundreds of kilometers, contributes to the transport of momentum, heat, and geochemically relevant tracers. Regionally, his main focus is the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica and links the three main ocean basins. High-resolution numerical modeling and satellite remote sensing are key tools in this research, which has led to an interest in high performance computing and big data. Prof. Abernathey helps lead the Pangeo project, an international collaboration aimed at accelerating data-intensive geoscience research through open source software and open infrastructure. He is a core developer of several open source scientific python libraries, including Xarray, Zarr, and Xgcm.

Unlocking the Potential of Cloud Native Science

Abstract: In this talk, I will describe efforts by the Pangeo project to assemble a software stack for cloud-native, data-intensive climate science research from the open-source scientific python software ecosystem. Rather than building a one-stop-shop for data storage and analytics, Pangeo technologies aim to enable a loosely coupled federation fo data providers and computing services to interoperate with minimum friction and maximum performance and scalability. Some key elements of these system are:

  • Cloud-native data repositories, which provide analysis-ready data in cloud-optimized formats, together with machine-readable catalogs. Our primary storage format in the cloud is Zarr, a specification for chunked, compressed, multidimensional arrays with metadata, which provides good performance and scalability compared to legacy data formats.

  • Data-proximate interactive computing using JupyterHub on Kubernetes.

  • Distributed computing with Dask gateway, which can leverage spot instances and autoscaling to provide cost-effective on-demand parallel processing

I will demo how these tools can be applied to real world data and science questions from oceanography and climate science. I will also speculate on how these tools and design patterns can be applied more broadly in other science domains.

Richard Strange (Frontier Development Lab and University of Oxford)

Data Intensive Research in the Cloud

Richard is the Data Manager for the Frontier Development Lab, a family of research challenges across the US, Europe and Oceania, representing a +$1 million USD processing budget for compute-intensive remote sensing AI research. Outside of FDL, he is the CTO for an Oxford-based satellite Agritech DaaS start-up. He is finishing a DPhil at the University of Oxford, using Big Data and AI to forecast volcanic eruptions better.

Schedule on Feb 2nd 2021: Invited talks (30 minutes each) and contributed talks (20 minutes each)

For your convenience: YouTube playlist of all talks

Authors Title Times in AEDT ⏰ convert here
Hsin-Fang Chiang Invited Talk Scientific Computing in the Clouds for the Rubin Observatory 08:00
Grant Miller Invited Talk The Zooniverse Citizen Science Platform 08:30
Francisco J. Rodriguez Lera, David Fernández Gonzalez, Miguel Ángel González Santamarta et al. Deploying Space Robotics Simulators with SUFFER 09:00
Live Q&A over zoom + 🍪 🍵 🍮 ☕️ 09:20
To submit questions, go to and enter the event code #COSPARCDW.
Ryan Abernathy Invited Talk Unlocking the Potential of Cloud Native Science 10:00
Richard Strange Invited Talk Data Intensive Research in the Cloud 10:30
Anirudh Koul, Siddha Ganju, Meher Kasam, James Parr Space ML: Distributed Open-source Research with Citizen Scientists for the Advancement of Space Technology for NASA 11:00
Live Q&A over zoom + 🍪 🍵 🍮 ☕️ 11:20
To submit questions, go to and enter the event code #COSPARCDW.
Fernando Lisboa, Shivam Verma, Anirudh Koul, et al. Democratizing Earth Science Research with Accessible Data & High-Performance Training Pipelines 12:00
Chris Holdgraf the International Interactive Computing Collaboration 12:20
Moderators: Monica Bobra & Jack Ireland Live Q&A followed by Panel Discussion zoom link 12:40
To submit questions, go to and enter the event code #COSPARCDW.