4 & 5 October 2012
Cape Town, South Africa
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MeerKAT science with Python

Simon Ratcliffe

Started out life as an astronomer, used to be an engineer, now trying to avoid managerial tasks. Currently in charge of scientific computing for the MeerKAT radio telescope (www.ska.ac.za). I spend a significant amount of my coding time trying to avoid writing C, and the rest of the time trying to use sys._getframe() in ways that annoy my colleagues.

Talk Outline

This talk is aimed at highlighting the use of Python within the MeerKAT radio telescope project. It will introduce the audience to radio astronomy in general and the MeerKAT and SKA in particular. The wide ranging use of Python in the project will be shown, finishing with a discussion on our goals of making Python the primary language for the high performance side of the telescope.

The MeerKAT radio telescope (www.ska.ac.za) is currently being constructed in the Karoo, and once complete will be the most sensitive telescope in the world in it's frequency range. In addition the MeerKAT serves as a precusor instrument to the international SKA project (www.skatelescope.org), which has recently awarded hosting of the majority of the facility to South Africa. This talk will introduce radio astronomy and discuss the wide ranging use of Python within the MeerKAT telescope. We will also discuss our attempts and future plans to make Python an integral part of the extremely challenging high performance computing efforts that are central to modern radio facilities.

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