La Serena School for Data Science: Applied Tools for Data-driven Sciences

Statement on COVID-19 and the 2020 La Serena School for Data Science

Update 2: April 23th - 15:00 CLT:

Given the impact of COVID-19 in Chile and the uncertain progression of the pandemic until August 2020, the Local and Scientific Organizing Committees have decided to cancel the school scheduled for August 2020. This decision considers the health and safety of all participants —students, professors and AURA staff— as our top priority, and it also takes into account the current situation at the home countries of our prospective students.  Effectively, the next school should be held in August 2021. We understand that the LSSDS is an important opportunity for many students coming from many data-intensive disciplines; therefore, we will consider students that would qualify for an scholarship in the 2020 school as eligible in the 2021 school. Finally, the application process for the 2021 school will be announced and advertised in our website and social networks timely.

Update 1: April 2nd - 19:30 CLT:

Applications for the 2020 School are currently on hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic. Please, keep checking the LSSDS website regularly for updates as the situation evolves. Furthermore, we will keep sending email updates to registered applicants.

Original statement:

Similarly to many other countries, Chilean and the U.S. authorities are taking measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes restrictions on travel and gatherings.
As a consequence, the LSSDS Local Organizing Committee is actively monitoring the evolution of COVID-19 and taking into account the recommendations of both governments, the NSF and AURA to protect the health and safety of everyone as the top priority. At this point, we will continue the online application process for the 2020 LSSDS normally. Please, keep checking the LSSDS website regularly for updates as this situation evolves. Furthermore, we will keep sending email updates to registered applicants.


Registration for the 2020 School is closed due to COVID-19.


  •  The 2020 School, originally scheduled for August 3-12, 2020, is canceled.
  •  Students eligible for scholarships include advanced undergraduates and early graduate students in any US or Chilean institutions, and Ecuadorian (CEDIA members) institutions.
  •  Please, read the information about the school and registration process.

The volume and complexity of astronomical data continues to grow as the current generation of surveys come online (PanSTARRS, Dark Energy Survey, VISTA). Astronomers will need to work with giga, tera and even petabytes of data in real time (LSST). This poses the challenges of developing and using new tools for data discovery, access, and analysis. At the same time, there are new opportunities for interdisciplinary research in applied mathematics, statistics, machine learning, crowd-sourcing, etc. Astronomy provides a sand-box where scientists can come together from diverse fields to address common challenges within the "Big Data" paradigm.

The LA SERENA SCHOOL FOR DATA SCIENCE: Applied Tools for Data-driven Sciences is an intensive 9-day program of interdisciplinary lectures focused on applied tools for handling big astronomical data. Participants will be instructed in how astronomical data are processed, accessed and analyzed, including reduction pipelines, databases, and scientific programming. In addition, working with data from other disciplines, such as bioinformatics, is also introduced.  The School will be taught by an international and interdisciplinary group of professors who will use real data and examples.  Participants will work on team-based projects and be provided training and access to the National Laboratory for High Performance Computing located at the University of Chile's Center for Mathematical Modeling. 

Lecture topics include:
- Image analysis
- Databases
- Statistical tools applied to large data sets
- Machine Learning
- High Performance Computing
- Cloud Computing

The Schools take place annually in August on the AURA Observatory campus in La Serena, Chile.  Students from different disciplines are encouraged to participate, including (but not limited to) astronomy, physics, computer science, statistics, mathematics, biology medical informatics. There is a registration fee for participants, which covers room and board (except dinners) and travel to the school.  Thanks to the support of the U.S. NSF and our partners in Chile scholarships will be available for most participants from the U.S. and Chile. In addition, thanks to the support from CEDIA, scholarships will be available to students in Ecuadorian universities members of CEDIA. See the annual program page for more information.


Applications for the 2020 School are on hiatus. For more details, check the Registration page.

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