Physics graduate student Brandon Erickson takes first place in the refereed poster award at Cyberinfrastructure Days. This annual event, sponsored by U-M’s Office of Research Cyberinfrastructure, (ORCI), provided an exceptional opportunity to share information and ideas about advanced, integrated computation and information resources and their use in research and learning. More than 200 members of the community attended the conference.

Brandon's poster, titled, Cosmic Sky Machine for the Dark Energy Survey, essentially describes efforts to build a more efficient infrastructure for cataloging data from galaxies. Brandon’s advisor is Physics Professor August Evrard.

His poster abstract follows: We describe efforts by the Simulation Working Group (SimWG) of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) to develop an efficient workflow environment for the production of wide-area synthetic galaxy catalogs that include self-consistent gravitational shear. The COsmic Sky MAchine (COSMA) environment transforms multiple 10^{10}-particle N-body simulations of nested volumes into multi-band, catalog-level descriptions of galaxies covering the full sky to high redshift. Such catalogs serve as truth tables for science pipeline validation, and DES Science teams require multiple realizations covering different cosmologies to support a Blind Cosmology Challenge process now getting underway. We outline our processing steps, including required empirical input, and present initial validation tests of a LCDM catalog at $z~1$. We sketch efforts underway to integrate our codes with NSF XSEDE workflow and gateway tools, with the aim to reduce production time for a single cosmology, including N-body simulation generation, from months to weeks. By creating an efficient, portable framework for generating science-grade, synthetic galaxy catalogs, we hope to lay the groundwork for support of future optical surveys, such as LSST, whose large data volumes demand sophisticated simulations to extract the best possible science.