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Former Hubble scientist joins TACC

Niall Gaffney has joined the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), at the University of Texas at Austin, US, in the newly created position of director of data intensive computing. Gaffney most recently served as principal computer scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for the Hubble Space Telescope data archive and the Hubble Legacy Archive Project.

Niall Gaffney, director of data intensive computing. Image courtesy TACC.

In his new role at TACC, Gaffney will oversee the center's big data strategy, which includes storage and storage systems, data collections, analytics (data mining and statistics), and architectures for data driven science and data intensive computing. "As a technologist with an astronomy background, Niall has taken some of the deepest, most sensitive cataloged data from telescopes and blended it with other available astronomical data to build a library for astronomers and the general public alike to use,” says TACC director Jay Boisseau.

At STScI, Gaffney was responsible for creating and managing systems for archiving, cataloging, discovering, visualizing, and distributing data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Kepler project, the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. He also previously worked for the McDonald Observatory, where he focused on systems integration, remote observation planning systems, and data systems during the construction and commissioning of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

“He has a deep understanding of how to create tools from large data collections that researchers from all fields need now and will need in the coming years to drive fundamental research,” says Boisseau. “Niall's expertise in managing and analyzing large scientific data collections will help TACC address fundamental challenges concerning core techniques and technologies, problems, and cyberinfrastructure across disciplines based on national directives.”

To read Faith Singer-Villalobos’s complete article, visit the TACC website.

- Amber Harmon

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