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In this issue:
XLDB2 Conference Brings Together Industry, Theory
Accelerators for 2000 Please, Alex
In the News: Most Dark-matter-filled Galaxy Discovered

SLAC Today

Monday - September 29, 2008

XLDB2 Conference Brings Together Industry, Theory

(Image - XLDB2 logo)

Databases that hold petabytes (a million billion bytes) of information are the focus of the second annual Extremely Large Databases Workshop taking place today at SLAC. Scientific experiments such as BaBar previously boasted the largest databases on Earth, but now they stand neck-and-neck with industry groups including Google and eBay. Science and industry representatives will meet, along with database theorists and vendors, to discuss commonalities in the race to manage the world's ever-growing deluge of data.

Although science has previously been ahead of industry in database size, industry has caught up, moving ahead quickly with the advantage of extensive financial resources. Conference organizer Jacek Becla said there is a lack of communication between science and industry when it comes to building XLDBs. Becla built the database for the BaBar experiment and is now building one for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. He hopes the conference will open up discussion between the two groups and help them find commonalities. "It's a two way street," said Kian-Tat Lim, one of the co-organizers. "Both sides have something they can learn from the other."

Last year's meeting brought together science and industry representatives for the first time to talk about XLDBs. "It helped everybody to realize all of us are facing very similar problems," said Becla.  Read more...

"Accelerators for 2000 Please, Alex"

The Jeopardy Clue Crew filming in SLAC's Main Control Center. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Hultquist. Click for larger image.)

The television game show Jeopardy featured SLAC science trivia in the show's September 18 broadcast.  Video clues for the quiz category "Accelerators: science at almost the speed of light from Stanford Linear Accelerator Center" included animations created by SLAC's own InfoMedia group and Clue Crew members speaking from SLAC's Klystron Gallery and Main Control Center.

"She now glows in the dark, by the way," quipped show host Alex Trebek after one of the Clue Crew members completed her report from the Klystron Gallery.

In the show, contestants compete to win cash by providing questions to match Jeopardy answers, or clues, which are set up to increase in difficulty as they increase in value.

With thanks to the show for their permission and the fun coverage of SLAC science, here are some great clips from SLAC's Jeopardy debut.

.WMV format

.MOV format

In the News:
Most Dark-matter-filled Galaxy Discovered

According to a press release from Yale University, a team led by one of their astronomers has found "the least luminous, most dark matter-filled galaxy known to exist."

The dwarf galaxy, called Segue 1, gives off only a faint glow lit by a few hundred stars as it orbits the Milky Way.

"But despite its small number of visible stars, Segue 1 is nearly a thousand times more massive than it appears, meaning most of its mass must come from dark matter."

According to the press release:

"It’s only recently that astronomers have discovered just how prevalent these dwarf satellite galaxies are, thanks to projects like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which imaged large areas of the nighttime sky in greater detail than ever before. In the past two years alone, the number of known dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way has doubled from the dozen or so brightest that were discovered during the first half of the twentieth century."

Fermilab processes and hosts data for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. (Read more about SDSS in this symmetry article.)

The team will publish their results in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

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