Jasper Horrell – General Manager, Science Computing and Innovation, SKA (South Africa)

Jasper Horrell


Presentation at III Multicore World

SKA: Driving Innovation

Dr. Jasper Horrell, SKA South Africa


Hosting of a significant portion of the SKA in Africa has big implications for the continent. The involvement in the SKA has led to a significant well-managed, targeted investment from the South African government which has already transformed the science and technology landscape in South Africa and into African partner countries. Not only has one of the best radio quiet sites been established in the Karoo semi-desert region of the Northern Cape, but a vibrant community of world leading scientists and engineers has been formed to support the initiative. The reach of the SKA SA project is extensive, from innovations in computing, the development of the KAT-7 and MeerKAT radio telescope instruments at the Karoo site, the generation of a very significant astronomy focused HCD programme, deep involvement in SKA design consortia, to radio astronomy development activities in African partner countries. SKA is an enabler: spawning big data projects; linking businesses government and academia; enabling conversations that would not have been possible; the list goes on. An overview of this amazing growth is given, with a focus on the computing developments, in particular.


Presentation for Computing for SKA workshop

SKA Computing: Humans in the Loop?

Dr. Jasper Horrell, SKA South Africa


The SKA telescopes have the potential to generate data at rates that force a paradigm shift over traditional approaches of data analysis. The days of expert astronomers carefully examining each dataset and fine tuning the processing parameters in order to extract the best science seem to be numbered. Approaches involving automated processing pipelines, incorporating machine learning into the processing chain, utilizing compute on demand with flexible, reconfigurable computing platforms and new developments in algorithms are perhaps pointers of things to come. Drawing from the work on the MeerKAT SKA precursor and associated research programmes, we look at what is being built and investigated now as well as emerging themes likely to play during the construction of the SKA.


Important: Jasper Horrell’s presentations will be delivered by videoconference



Dr. Jasper Horrell has a background in physics and electrical engineering (radar signal processing) and has worked at SKA South Africa full-time since 2005. He is part of the management team with a focus on the scientific computing and innovation aspects of the project. His MeerKAT hat involves helping to ensure that the MeerKAT telescope is constructed and operated as the world’s most sensitive cm class telescope and achieves its major science goals. His SKA hats include being part of the Science Data Processor Consortium working on SKA computing design, being a member of the SKA Operations Working Group and playing an overall coordination role for SKA SA in relation to the SKA design work and MeerKAT integration.