RUG builds data server for space mission

Groningen is getting one of the eight European data centres that will process the data sent by the next European space mission, Euclid.

In 2020, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) probe, Euclid, will be launched. The probe will take high-resolution photos to be used, among other things, in the search for dark matter. ‘Dark matter is not equally distributed throughout the universe’, explains Koen Kuijken from Leiden who, together with the RUG, submitted a grant application to NWO to finance the centre. ‘We’re looking for it with the use of ‘gravity lenses’: the distortion of light by gravity.’

Euclid’s data will be sent to the new Dutch Science Data Centre which the RUG will develop. NWO has made two million euros available for this, and six million euros has been allocated from other sources.

Big Data experts

Processing the data requires both new hardware and software. The software will be designed by Groningen researchers at the Donald Smits Centre, which includes co-applicant Edwin Valentijn. ‘Over the past few years, we have evolved into Big Data experts here in Groningen’, says Valentijn. ‘Not only can we develop the hardware here, but also the intelligent layer, which is equally important.’

The researchers who will be granted access to Euclid’s data through the database will have to find their way among the millions of bytes. ‘We’ll make sure you can find your way in all that data, and that it is archived correctly’, says Valentijn.