State observatory partners with Alibaba on big data
The National Astronomical Observation (NAO) announced a partnership with Alibaba Group on astronomy research using big data.
The partnership, involving Alibaba's cloud computing unit Aliyun will result in the establishment of a big data research center, featuring an open online database of astronomical information that enables users to explore the cosmos via a virtual space observatory.
The center will also be able to support scientific research with cloud computing.
Yan Jun, head of NAO, said astronomy was one of the first disciplines to utilize data science. Big data opens up new opportunities for astronomical research but also features some challenges, in terms of data collection, transportation, storage, processing, analysis and sharing, he said.
The volume of astronomical data collected is expected to balloon to 250 trillion bytes a year. The partnership is expected to help upgrade China's capability in astronomy research.