LSSTC Brokers Workshop 2021

The 2021 LSSTC Broker Workshop

In Oct 2020 and Apr 2021 the Fink and ALeRCE brokers co-organized a series of two workshops on astronomical alert brokers and their user communities. The workshop was supported by an LSSTC Enabling Science 2020 grant awarded to PIs representing each of the organizing broker teams: F. Förster for ALeRCE and A. Möller for Fink.

In the first part, in Oct 2020, the focus was on LSST science collaborations (SCs). The SCs were invited to present how they imagined brokers helping them do their science via specific use cases. A summary of the use cases explicitly mentioned during these presentations is shown below:


In the second part of the workshop, in Apr 2021, the focus was on the data products and services offered by brokers and target and observations managers (TOMs) in order to address some of the use cases presented by the science collaborations. In this version there were 129 registered participants, about ⅔ male, with representation from 14 broker/TOM teams, and a relatively uniform distribution of professors, researchers, graduate, and undergraduate students. An important legacy result from this workshop is a repository of Jupyter notebooks and presentations, as well as video recordings.

The workshop was organized in three days where 70% of the time was devoted to tutorials on different use cases grouped in the following categories: Broker interfaces, Solar System, Galactic science, Extragalactic science, Marshal/TOMs, and Validation and training sets. We also had talks at the beginning of each day, and one discussion session per day about the following topics: output from brokers, downstream from brokers, and science collaboration feedback. The full agenda of the workshop can be seen here:

Thanks to the different presentations it was possible to observe some degree of convergence on how brokers are offering simple interactions with their user community: via web interfaces, Python clients, and APIs. However, there is a diversity of solutions on how to offer complex queries, how filtering and/or classification is performed, what crossmatches are available, or how to communicate information in real-time. It seems that having a diverse ecosystem of brokers will allow for a richer exploration of all the available possibilities. For the next workshop, we expect to have the final list of LSST Community Brokers; a more interconnected ecosystem of brokers, brokers of brokers, and TOMs; and a more diverse contribution from different streams, including multimessenger sources. The field of brokers is rapidly growing!

You are welcome to post questions or comments about the workshop as replies in this topic, below.

The organizers

PS: the github repository is undergoing some post workshop curation.