Workshop 1
Title of workshop: Exploring the ultraviolet Universe with UVIT Science, observation planning and data analysis workshop
Details: Ultraviolet Violet Imaging Telescope, the ultraviolet eye of ASTROSAT is observing the Universe at a resolution better than 1.5 arcsec in Far-UV to Near- UV wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelength region is of unique astrophysical significance to study the hot ionised plasma, young and evolved stellar population and ongoing star formation. The observations using UVIT are expected to yield more insights into the ongoing star formation in galactic and extra galactic systems, properties of ionized regions such as planetray nebulae, evolved stellar population, stellar activity and emission mechanism in active galactic nuclei to name a few science areas. The UVIT detectors are operated in photon counting mode where UV photons are registered as events which is subjected to the satellite drift along with a series of systematics which needs to be properly corrected for creating the two dimensional image of the UV sky. The UVIT payload onboard ASTROSAT is completing two years of successful operation in November 2017.

The first UVIT Science meeting held at IIA, Bangalore on 6-7 July 2017, had several presentations based on UVIT observations. The meeting was well received and there were about 70 participants. This meeting brought out the requirement for making the UVIT instrument, data processing as well as observation planning familiar to a larger audience.

The three main goals of the proposed workshop are:
  1. To present recent science results to the astronomical community.
  2. Familiarise the larger community with UVIT observing proposal preparation, the instrument and mission constraints, prepare the community for the next call for ASTROSAT proposal which will due in the first half of 2018,
  3. Hands on data analysis using the pipeline software.
The plan is to have an intense half day session on selected interesting results from UVIT along with a discussion on planning for good science. The second half will be devoted to a session of preparation of UVIT observing proposal where we plan to explain the observing modes, instrument and mission constrains which need to be kept in mind while choosing the targets. This will be followed by a hands on session on UVIT data analysis. The team members proposing for this workshop are part of the UVIT payload operation center at IIA and are core members of UVIT team involved in the payload development, calibration, observations, pipeline development and science.
Expected outcome of the workshop: The participants of the workshop will be a wider audience from the astronomical community in the country with no prior experience in UV observations, proposal writing and data analysis. We expect to walk them through UVIT observation, science, proposal writing and data analysis which could motivate a good fraction of them to propose for the next ASTROSAT Announcement of opportunity call. We plan to provide guidance to the proposers to configure the instrument for efficient observation. This workshop will also help to create healthy discussion to produce good science from UVIT observations.
Tentative schedule and list of speakers: Astronomers interested in observing with UVIT are encouraged to attend the workshop. Unix based laptop is required for running the UVIT data reduction pipeline. Data used for reduction will be shared to the participants in advance.
Science talks will be selected from the abstracts submitted for the workshop, apart from a couple of invited talks, based on latest results.
Science session: 9:30- 13:00 hrs
Session 1: Introduction to UVIT, data and calibration (UVIT POC team)
Session 2: Science from UVIT (2-4 longer and up to 10 short talks) (Selected from submitted abstracts)
Lunch: 13:00 - 14:00 hrs
Preparation of UVIT observing proposal (Annapurni): 14:00-14:45 hrs
Introduction to Data pipeline (Koshy): 14:45 - 15:30 hrs
Hands on Data analysis : 15:45 - 17:30 hrs
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Annapurni Subramaniam, Koshy George and POC team
Number of participants: 40-50
Budget: Rs.70,000 (Rs. 1000 per participant + Rs. 20,000 for Misc/overhead)


Workshop 2
Title of workshop: Towards a detailed project proposal for Indian participation in the SKA : Science Requirements
Details: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the next generation radio telescope, is now in the final stages of its detailed design. These design activities are expected to conclude by the end of 2018 and actual construction work of the SKA Phase 1 (SKA-1) is expected to start in the second half of 2019. Towards the end of 2016, India made an (early) commitment about its plans for participation in the SKA-1 construction. It is expected that India will play lead roles in various technical aspects during the construction of the telescope (e.g. delivery of the Telescope Manager). Early 2018 would be a good time for the potential users of the SKA in India to review the progress of the SKA science case activities in India and to plan for the future, specifically with the aim to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) which will contain the detailed plans for Indian participation in the construction phase of the SKA-1. This DPR will be submitted to the Government of India as a mega-project proposal (funded by DAE and DST), and will form the basis for the long-term participation of India in the SKA, and the funding for the same. This DPR is expected to also fold in the development of SKA science related activities in India, as well as the required HRD activities needed to support the main science objectives, in addition to the detailed proposal for Indian participation in the construction of the SKA. A suitable committee, under the purview of the SKA-India Consortium, is expected to hold discussions and prepare the DPR.
Objective: The proposed workshop aims to bring together astronomers all over India to review the progress so far, sharpen the science plans, and consolidate inputs on science aspects of the DPR. This would be a follow up of two similar SKA-related workshops organised during the earlier ASI meetings, which have proved to be immensely useful, in different ways, to the Indian astronomy community. The first workshop in 2014 at IISER, Mohali seeded the formation of the SKA-India Science Working Groups (SWGs), which have become very active over the last three years; while the second one in 2015 at NCRA, Pune resulted in the formation of the SKA-India Consortium and also saw useful growth of the activities of the Indian SWGs. In the last few years, Indian astronomers have been able to identify various science areas of interest with the SKA. These science cases have been published as articles in a special issue of the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics in December 2016. In addition, various groups have already started pilot observations with the uGMRT to get trained for science with the SKA. The two ASI workshops played a crucial role in galvanising these activities of the Indian community.

In a similar vein, the proposed workshop is expected to provide a further boost to the SKA science related activities in the country. In addition to reviewing the progress so far and fine tuning future plans, a new focus would be identifying the resource requirement for the astronomers so that appropriate amount of funding can be requested in the DPR. These could include, e.g., computing required for development of simulations and analysis pipelines; future plans for training observations with the uGMRT and other telescopes; plans for organising hands-on workshops in India on data analysis and techniques; international travel to attend SKA related meetings. The main objectives of the proposed workshop thus would be :
  1. to proveide updates to the Indian astronomy community about the latest status of the SKA project
  2. to review the growth of the SKA science case in India and to discuss the modalities for enhanced participation of the Indian astronomers in various science areas
  3. to identify the needs and requirements of the community in order to prepare for the SKA science keeping the upcoming DPR in mind
  4. overall, to further build up on the momentum for SKA related activities that has been growing in the last three years or so
Session Information: The ASI meeting forms a natural backdrop for a gathering of scientists from all over India which would be ideal for meeting the goals of the workshop. The workshop would consist of a number of invited talks during the morning, followed by a discussion and planning session in the afternoon/evening.
Expected Participants: 50
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Tirthankar Roy Choudhury and Yashwant Gupta


Workshop 3
Title of workshop: Astrophysical Jets 2018
Theme: The aim of "Astrophysical Jets 2018" workshop is to bring together researchers in the field of astrophysical jets for a focused one-day discussion on recent results and future directions for research.
Format of the workshop − The one-day workshop, “Astrophysical Jets 2018” will have a few keynote speakers and some contributed talks, with a mixture of 15 min and 30 min talks, leaving plenty of time for discussion. Extensive open discussion will focus on issues related to the production and nature of jets, not only in AGN, but also in micro-quasars and young stellar objects.
Rationale − Significant progress has been made in understanding astrophysical jets because of new multi-wavelength observations extending from the radio up to high energy gamma-rays in these years. However, various fundamental issues are still open, e.g., the energy output and evolution of the AGN jets, etc. In addition, several large projects in astronomy, e.g., upgraded GMRT, AstroSat and TMT will be operating in India or will begin operations over the coming decade.

To stimulate the AGN community and motivated by the comprehensive multi-wavelength studies of AGN jets, we are organising a workshop, “Astrophysical Jets 2018”, with an aim to discuss the progress made in the field of AGN jets, and the future prospects using the upcoming large projects. We would also look for relevant lessons that can be learnt from related fields, e.g. micro-quasars and young stellar objects. Recent status and progress of upgraded GMRT, AstroSat, TMT and science from them would be also summarised.
Tentative list of lectures :
  • Radio gamma-ray connection
  • Radio jet feedback
  • AGN variability: X-ray, optical and radio and their relation to AGN jets
  • Radio jets: jet power, morphology and scales
  • Jets in YSOs and their connection with the larger astrophysical jets
  • AGN jet science with uGMRT / AstroSat / TMT Discussion
List of speakers:
  • Hum Chand (ARIES, Nainital)
  • Gulab Dewangan (IUCAA, Pune)
  • Manoj Purvankara (TIFR, Mumbai)
  • Bindu Rani (NASA GSFC, USA - tbc)
  • Raghunathan Srianand (IUCAA, Pune)
Expected Participants: The meeting is limited to 50 participants, including organisers and speakers.
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Dharam Vir Lal and Preeti Kharb
National Centre for Radio Astrophysics – Tata institute of Fundamental Research Post Box 3, Ganeshkhind Post Office, Pune 411007, India


Workshop 4
Title of workshop: Scaling Relations in Galaxies
Scientific Rationale: Over the last two decades or so, there has been a large number of dedicated small to large scale surveys such as Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), BOSS, SEGUE, APOGEE to understand physical properties of galaxies. And more than a dozen of surveys (e.g., RAVE, BRAVA, GAIA) dedicated to unfold the formation history of our Milky Way. In addition, there are a few IFU (Integral Field Unit) surveys such as SAURON, CALIFA, MANGA (publicly available) providing us with simultaneous measurements of photometric kinematic plus metal abundance for a single galaxy - altogether making it a golden era for investigating galaxy formation, structure and evolution in unprecedented detail. At the same time, the availability of big volume of data allows one to look at galaxies as a population. From the galaxy formation point of view, it is desirable to benchmark the characteristic physical properties of the population. One of the possible ways to look at the problem is to determine/establish a set of scaling relations based on physical intuition - for example, the luminosity and the maximum circular velocity in a spiral galaxy are known to be in tight correlation - the famous Tully-Fisher relation. Similarly, the spheroidal galaxies are known to follow the fundamental plane relation - which is a tight correlation between their size, central surface brightness and velocity dispersion.

Understanding the origin and nature of such scaling relations is one of the fundamental quest for any successful theory of galaxy formation. We propose to host an one-day workshop to explore scaling relations and its implication for galaxy formation based on archival data, primarily with SDSS. The workshop is aimed at introducing the young researchers, the usefulness and implications of various scaling relations, how to establish one by exploring big volume of data. The proposers are engaged in several ongoing work in the field of galaxy formation, evolution and their structures and are well placed to conduct a workshop on the topic.
Tentative programme: The workshop will consist of a number of talks to be followed by hands-on sessions. The topics to be covered will include -
  • Introduction to scaling relations in galaxies
  • Fundamental plane
  • Introduction to SDSS and other data
  • Demos and hands-on session
  • The lectures will begin at 9.30 am and will continue for about three and half hours. The post-lunch session will be devoted to demos and hands-on sessions. The lectures and practical sessions will be covered by the proposers and possibly a few other experts from the country and abroad.
Requirements: The level of the workshop will be suitable for young researchers working in astronomy and astrophysics, having familiarity with basic software packages such as Plotting softwares such Gnuplot, Plplot/MATLAB, SQL, IRAF, Python etc. and Linux, of course. The participants will need to bring laptop for the hands-on session. They will be advised on the software packages to be loaded on their laptops prior to the workshop. Good audio-visual facilities, wifi with decent bandwidth and a number of power outlets will be required for conducting the workshop.
Expected Participants: The number of participants will be limited to 40 at the workshop.
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Kanak Saha (IUCAA), Sudhanshu Barway (SAAO, South Africa), Chanda Jog (IISc), Ajit Kembhavi (IUCAA)


Workshop 5
Title of workshop: Deep Learning Applications in Astronomy
Details: We propose a workshop on applications of Deep Learning to astronomy. Machine Learning, particularly using Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), Support Vector Machines (SVM) and other related tools, has been extensively applied to regression and classification problems in astronomy. These include star-galaxy classification when the galaxies are so distant that they have near-point like images, stellar classification using their spectra, distinguishing between star and quasars on the basis of their colours, morphological classification of galaxies and the estimation of the redshift of extragalactic objects using photometric data.

In the traditional applications of machine learning, when input images or spectra are used, representative features of the concerned objects are used to train an ANN, say, to be able to distinguish between different classes, like stars and galaxies. The trained network can then be used to classify large samples of objects without human intervention. Deep Learning algorithms use many layers of nonlinear processing units, providing much greater depth as well as width compared to traditional machine learning techniques. There is therefore a very large number of adjustable weights, so that whole images or high resolution spectra can be directly used as inputs for training, leading to the possibilities of subtle image recognition and classification. In recent times, Deep Learning techniques are being used in many areas where complex structures are to be discovered in high-dimensional data, including image and speech recognition, analysing particle accelerator data and predicting the activity of potential drug molecules and natural language processing. It is also used in economics and finance. In all such applications, Deep Learning surpasses machine learning in the accuracy of results obtained, and can be used to solve problems that were considered to be intractable for machine learning. There is rapid evolution taking place in the theory and techniques of Deep Learning and its applications. The use of Deep Learning in astronomy is just beginning. It has been applied, for example to determining galaxy morphology and classification of stellar spectra. Our group is using Deep Learning to discover bars in galaxies and to identify rare stellar objects from their spectra. The applications to astronomy are expected to grow enormously over the coming years, particularly in the context of large surveys and data sets.

A workshop on Deep Learning at the ASI Meeting is therefore very timely: it will serve to introduce young as well as experienced researchers to the emerging techniques and their possible applications to astronomy, which could later be studied in much greater detail for specific cases. The proposers are engaged in several projects using Deep Learning in astronomy as well as other fields and are therefore well placed to conduct a workshop on the topic.
Topics to be Covered: The programme will consist of a number of talks to be followed by the demos and hands on sessions. The topics to be covered in the talk will include:
  • Introduction to Machine Learning
  • Introduction to GPUs
  • Deep Learning Fundamentals and Algorithms
  • Astronomical Applications
  • Applications to Other Domains
  • Machine and Deep Learning Software Tools; Demos
  • Hands-On Sessions
The astronomical applications will cover work by the proposers as well as other groups. The lectures will begin at 10 am (earlier if possible) and will continue for about three hours. The afternoon will be devoted to demos and hands-on sessions. The lectures and practical sessions will be covered by the proposers and possibly a few other experts from the country and abroad.
Requirements: The level will be suitable for young researchers working in astronomy having familiarity with the use of software packages and the Python programming language. The participants will need to bring a laptop for hands-on work. They will be advised on the software packages they will have to load on their laptops prior to the workshop. Good audio-visual facilities, Wifi with sufficient bandwidth and a number of power outlets will be required for conducting the workshop.
Expected Participants: 50
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Ajit Kembhavi (IUCAA), Ninan Sajeeth Philip (St. Thomas College) Ashish Mahabal (Caltech), Sheelu Abraham (IUCAA), Kaustubh Vaghmare(IUCAA)


Workshop 6
Title of workshop: Cosmological HD & MHD simulations and data analysis techniques: solving challenges in Astronomy and Astrophysics"

This workshop will be co-founder under a project (P.I. Surajit Paul) approved by National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).
Rationale: For astronomers and astrophysicists, sky is the laboratory. Unfortunately, it does not allow us to do controlled experiments or test individual theoretical models. But, computer simulations of astrophysical events allow us to do so and acts as true laboratory for astrophysicists. Simulation is also very important to understand temporal and spatial evolution of astrophysical structures which is otherwise almost impossible to study, especially for the large scale structures such as galaxies, clusters and 10s of Mpc scale cosmic filaments. Last but not least, unlike the observable sky that only allow us to study in 2 dimension, simulations allow us to see events in 3D and can help us to solve many outstanding problems that depends on the geometry of the objects. In short, simulations of large scale structures in the universe has now become an indispensable tool for the Astrophysics and Cosmology research. Various astrophysical codes are publicly available. Some of these codes are ENZO,GADGET, PENCIL etc. ENZO and GADGET can be used to model cosmological volumes of 100s of Mpc using both N-body (dark matter), and (magneto)-hydrodynamics (comprising of both magnetised and non-magnetised gas) to simulate galaxies, galaxy clusters as well as cosmic filaments and voids. In addition to cosmological simulations, non-cosmological codes like Pencil is extremely useful to probe astrophysical turbulence and cosmic magnetic fields in controlled settings, which allows for resolving the scales critical for magnetic field amplifications, which could be orders of magnitude smaller than the driving scale of turbulence. Most of the above mentioned codes offer the possibility to add other relevant physics modules such as star-formation and supernovae feedback, AGN feedback, sub-grid models of turbulence, cosmic ray transport, to name a few. These modules may be used in conjunction with one another depending on the requirements of the user.

Though, it has been a very popular research field in most of the leading astrophysics institutes all over the world, in India it has not grown as a major research area yet. Mostly, because of unavailability of enough in-house computing facilities across the country. This is also true that it has not been promoted much by organising training events to motivate young researchers in this field. ASI annual meeting being the largest event in India that brings astronomers of all branches, will be the best suitable for organising such training/workshop. India has recently planned to make several world class supercomputers and HPCs spread all over the country under National Super Computing Mission (NSM). This is high time to grab this opportunity by creating a trained pool of researchers in this field. So, this workshop aims at promoting research in cosmological simulations among the new generation of astronomers/astrophysicists and make them equipped with the very essential tool for their research. Our main target groups are thus PhD students and postdocs, though a few young faculties can also me accommodated. Since, these are ready codes, with a bit of training, astronomers familiar with python scripting can also make use of simulated data for interpretation of their observations.
Plan: We plan to introduce the publicly available cosmological HD & MHD simulation codes (ENZO, Pencil Code, GADGET) through 2-3 lectures in the morning session. We will discuss about the basic theoretical models that has been implemented in these codes and will give a brief outline about possible astrophysics problems that these codes can deal with. Later, participants will be introduced to the type of data produced from the simulations and various post processing and visualisation techniques (yt-tools, IDL/GDL etc.). In the afternoon session, we will hold hands on sessions where we will teach data handling and post processing methods to produce the observable parameters that are useful for astronomers as well as astrophysicists and cosmologists. We will also try to help participants in using these techniques to solve their respective research problems in case they require such suggestions.

Since, one day is not enough to include all aspects of cosmological simulations, our main focus in this workshop will be on post processing and data analysis part. We will provide simulated data to work on. We will organise a full workshop of 3-4 days on this topic in future, covering all the details i.e. starting from details of the publicly available codes, adding new modules to that, creating initial conditions, running cosmological simulations, understanding data structures, post processing data to analysing and visualising data and its interpretation.
Requirements: Every participants should bring their laptop with Linux/Unix operating system and enough data space or external hard drive (at least 250 GB). Before the workshop, we will help the selected participants to install required programs in their laptops (through online communication) to make sure that they come with required tools.
Expexted Participants: 25-30
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Surajit Paul (SP Pune University), Sharanya Sur (IIA), Biswajit Panday (Visvabharati) and Prakash Sarkar (NIT-Jamshedpur)


Workshop 7
Title of workshop: Early science with the newly installed 3.6m Devasthal Optical Telescope
Rationale: A 3.6 meter diameter optical telescope, optimized for imaging and spectroscopic exploration of the Milky Way and the distant celestial objects in the universe has been successfully established in the year 2016 at Devasthal site which is about 60 km east from the Nainital city in the Central Himalayan Region. The 3.6m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT) is the largest optical telescope in India.

The performance of the telescope is found to be at par with the world-class ground-based optical telescope facilities. The celestial objects separated by 0.4 seconds of arc in the sky have been successfully resolved by the telescope. Two instruments viz. Optical imager (4kx4k CCD) and Near-infrared Imager (TIRCAM2) have been rigorously tested for use with the telescope. The first early science call for observing time on the telescope (cycle 2017A, Apr-May) was announced to the Astronomical Community of India in February 2017. The cycle 2017A has been completed successfully. Preparations are on for the next early science cycle 2017B (Oct-Jan).
Aim: This workshop aims to highlight as-built scientific performance of the telescope and the back-end instruments 4Kx4K imager and the TIRCAM2. The first science results will be presented. A few deliberations on the upcoming instruments as well as the synergy of 3.6m DOT with other facilities in India at optical, radio and x-ray wavebands will also be included.
Tentative Topics: Tentative topics for deliberations :
  • Telescope and back-end instruments
  • Early science results
  • Upcoming instruments and related science
  • Synergy with other Indian facilities
Expected Participants: 50
Details on Organisation:
Organisers: Brijesh Kumar, ARIES, Nainital and Saurabh, ARIES, Nainital