GRADLCI

German-Russian Astroparticle Data Life Cycle Initiative

Research in astroparticle physics, like cosmic rays physics, addresses some of the most fundamental questions in nature. There is an intimate connection between measurements and theoretical descriptions of astrophysical phenomena to provide the foundation for the sophisticated models of macroscopic astrophysical systems. In addition, scientists between experiments from ground-based and space-based devices have to share their incredibly detailed observations to study processes in astrophysical environments. Moreover, information from various messengers, like charged particles, gamma-rays or neutrinos, measured by different large-scale facilities globally distributed, have to be combined to obtain increased knowledge of the high-energy Universe. 

Research in astroparticle physics, like cosmic rays physics, addresses some of the most fundamental questions in nature. There is an intimate connection between measurements and theoretical descriptions of astrophysical phenomena to provide the foundation for the sophisticated models of macroscopic astrophysical systems. In addition, scientists between experiments from ground-based and space-based devices have to share their incredibly detailed observations to study processes in astrophysical environments. Moreover, information from various messengers, like charged particles, gamma-rays or neutrinos, measured by different large-scale facilities globally distributed, have to be combined to obtain increased knowledge of the high-energy Universe. 

For that, also named as multi-messenger astroparticle physics, a diverse set of astrophysical data is required to be made available and public. The current trend, not only in astroparticle physics but also in particle physics is that people from all over the world can see images as soon as they are posted, and scientists can immediately download scientific data. This demonstrates from the initial stages the power of the Internet and the ability of the scientific community to share data quickly with other colleagues and with the general public. 

Some experiments in astroparticle physics have already adopted this fascinating idea and they have involved their scientific data in electronic publishing, such as KCDC. The KASCADE Cosmic ray Data Centre, presently in its beta-phase, is a web portal where the KASCADE scientific data is made available for the interested public. However, KCDC is a small project, driven within the KASCADE experiment, only and KASCADE is already dismantled. In Russia, there is the operating TAIGA facility, which spits out continuously data, and where by many reasons TAIGA-KASCADE combined data analyses with sophisticated Big Data Science analysis methods (e.g. deep learning) are of advantage for solving big physics questions. 

The present project aims, for the first time, for a common data portal of two independent observatories and at the same time for a consolidation and maturation of a data centre of astroparticle physics experiments. In more details, there are four main goals of this project:

  • KCDC extension: This already existing data centre released an initial data set of parameters of 400 million extensive air showers of the concluded KASCADE experiment. Now, extend KCDC will be extended by more scientific data from the TAIGA experiment, i.e. current data, so to say up-to-the-date data, allowing on-the-fly multi-messenger-analysis. Further goal is to extend and improve KCDC and make it more attractive to a broader user community.
  • Big Data Science Software: Such an extension of the data centre allowing not only access to the data, but also the possibility of developing specific analysis methods and corresponding simulations in one environment needs a move to most modern computing, storage and data access concepts, which is only possible by a close co-operation between the participating groups from both, physics and information technology. A possible concept to reach this goal is the installation of a dedicated so-called “data life cycle lab”, where this project is aiming for. Dedicated access, storage, and interface software has to be developed.
  • Reliability tests: Some specific analyses of the data provided by the new data centre will be performed to test the entire concept resulting in full reviewed journal publications. This will give important contributions and confidence to the project as a valuable scientific tool.
  • Go for the public: The full outreach part of the project, including example applications for all level of users – from pupils to the directly involved scientists to theoreticians – with detailed tutorials and documentation is an important goal of the project.

Therefore, the GRAD Initiative, as a pilot project in this respect should have a dramatic long-term impact on the publication and release policies of future facilities in nuclear, particle, and astroparticle physics.

The resulting data centre and the experiences gained within this project will serve as a proof-of-principle that a public data centre opens the door to new methods of data analysis as well as to a new strategy of open science. In addition, it provides a concept for the required data release of forthcoming large-scale experiments in astroparticle physics, in particular as dedicated facility in spanning over many different experiments. This new and strategic issue for astroparticle physics is possible as KCDC is already now accepted by the community as a forerunner, but needs to be consolidated and matured in its scientific and technological performance to be ready for the global use. The present project is a necessary step into this direction. In this sense, the results of this project will validate the concept of a widely usable and public data centre in astroparticle physics.

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