Science Data Challenge 2

Welcome to the second SKA Science Data Challenge. Our latest challenge will see participants analyse a simulated datacube 1 TB in size, in order to find and characterise the neutral hydrogen content of galaxies across a sky area of 20 square degrees.

Neutral hydrogen – or HI – exists in large quantities beyond the visible edges of most star-forming galaxies. Emitting light at a fixed radio wavelength during occasional electron ‘spin-flips’, HI traces the rotation of galaxies, allowing astronomers to infer the amount of mass – both visible and dark – contained within. The unprecedented sensitivity of the SKA will be used to map HI out to the formation of the first galaxies, just 380,000 years after the Big Bang. This period, known as “Cosmic Dawn”, began some 13.5 billion years ago. The challenge dataset will be a simulation of an SKA HI observation up to a distance of 4 billion light years.

In order to provide such a large dataset for analysis, we have teamed up with high performance computing facilities around the world. Participants are invited to compete in teams and create accounts at one facility per team, on which the data will be accessed and processed directly.


We are excited to announce that we received a high level of interest for the challenge, with 40 teams registering to take part. In total, we have 276 participants representing 80 institutes and 23 countries. We thank all teams for registering and we wish you all the best of luck!