Center for Data Intensive and Time Domain Astronomy


The MSU Center for Data Intensive and Time Domain Astronomy (CDITDA) brings together researchers from astronomy, computer science, and statistics to address forefront problems in observational, computational, and theoretical astrophysics.

A new era in astronomy…

Cerro Pachon image

Old methods of analyzing astronomical data are not well-suited to exploit the breadth and quantity of data that will emerge from new and forthcoming observational facilities. For example, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (left) will image the visible night sky every three days and will produce over a million alerts of variable or transient astronomical sources every night; only a fraction of these sources, however, can be followed up in greater detail using telescopes such as MSU’s SOAR telescope.

simulation of star explosion and evolution of the universe

Petascale supercomputers such as Blue Waters offer the ability to simulate the explosions of stars (left) and the evolution of the universe (right) with unprecedented precision, but also present enormous technical challenges in efficiently running and interpreting such simulations.

…demands a new approach

Researchers in the Center for Data Intensive and Time Domain Astronomy will develop and apply sophisticated statistical and computational techniques to analyze large astrophysical datasets in order to answer the most pressing scientific questions in the field: the origins of planets, stars, and galaxies; how stars are born and die; the astrophysical genesis of the elements; and the nearly unexplored question of how celestial sources change with time.

About us

Founding members of CDITDA include faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering.