The high angular resolution of Planck will result in a large amount of scientific data to process, and will require considerable computational efforts. The LFI instrument alone will produce more than 100GB of data yearly, which makes the use of traditional data plotting and analysis packages like MATLAB and IDL cumbersome. For Quick Look Analysis (QLA) such as weekly reporting and real time processing, the solution is a program called Kst. Kst was originally created at the University of Toronto by Barth Netterfield for use on the BLAST and Boomerang experiments. It has developed into a powerful open source plotting program, targeted towards large (million element) data sets.

The features of Kst which make it useful for Planck QLA include:
  • Plotting of "live" streaming data.
  • Customizability, with support for plugins, extensions, and scripting.
  • Monitoring of events, with notification support.
  • Built-in support for many basic analysis functions (histograms, power spectra, correlations, fits, etc.)
  • Speed. Kst is implemented in C++, using the KDE architecture.
Kst is an open source program, and has contributors around the world. Information on installing and using it can be found at the Kst website. Development information is also available via the Kst mailing list.


Members of the Canadian LFI team have been involved with the planning of the Planck science program. They are active members of the Planck core team, whose task is to deliver the final data to the Planck consortium and wider scientific community. Work they have been involved in, for example, includes an effort to understand the recombination history of the universe to high precision and modelling systematics in the CMB polarization maps which Planck will produce.

Canadian team members, led by Russ Taylor, are also involved in the Planck DRAO Deep Fields project, which consists of high resolution observations of the polarized astrophysical foregrounds at high galactic latitude. Since a key science goal of Planck is to measure the CMB polarization at high precision, it is necessary to have a good understanding of polarized foregrounds for which this project will be important.