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Astronomical Data Processing on the LSST Scale with Apache Spark

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The next decade promises to be exciting for both astronomy and computer science with a number of large-scale astronomical surveys in preparation. One of the most important ones is Large Scale Survey Telescope, or LSST. LSST will produce the first ‘video’ of the deep sky in history by continually scanning the visible sky and taking one 3.2 giga-pixel image every 20 seconds. In this talk we will describe LSST’s unique design and how its image processing pipeline produces catalogs of astronomical objects. To process and quickly cross-match catalog data we built AXS (Astronomy Extensions for Spark), a system based on Apache Spark. We will explain its design and what is behind its great cross-matching performance.

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