IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM20)

Thurs Aug 17 2006 @ 17.30-20.00 Local Time (Prague, Czech Republic)


Meeting will take place in room DR225 at the IAU Conference Location - see http://www.astronomy2006.com/congress-centre.php


  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Minutes of TM19
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Status on Participation of Brazilian VO (continued)
  5. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s)
  6. VO WG of IAU - IAU VO WG Charter
  7. Status of Implementation of IVOA standards in Data Centers
  8. Mandates/Working Method of WGs/IGs
  9. Autumn Interoperability meeting in Moscow
  10. Chair(s) of VOQL and Registry WGs
  11. New deputy chair (and future of the executive committee)
  12. AOB
    • Summary of this meeting
    • Date and Venue of the next exec meeting (telecon ?)
    • Future InterOp meetings after 2007 Spring
  13. Summary of Actions

Reports from the Projects




In the year, the China-VO group mainly focuses on two projects, i.e. SkyMouse and VO-DAS.

On July 19th, Masatoshi visited NAOC and discussed with the China-VO group. On the dya, SkyMouse 1.0 was released. Combing with screen character capture technology, SkyMouse is an easy-of-use intelligent information collector, which takes advantages of all kinds of online astronomical resources, including VO services and traditional web applications. A simple "mouse click" action will return the user a comprehensive overview for a specific astronomical object. Website: "http://skymouse.china-vo.org".

VO Data Access Service (VO-DAS) is an under developing project in our group, which will be our first priority work before the 2007 Spring Interoperability meting. VO-DAS, will become the data access and data mining infrastructure for the China-VO. Based on some common used Grid middle-wares, for example Globus Toolkit and OGSA-DAI, the VO-DAS system will provide VO-compliant, uniform access interfaces for different kinds of astronomical resources existing as VO services, DBMS', and even file systems. From Aug 14th, VO-DAS project has been turned from design stage to coding stage. A preview version will be available by the end of the year. The first public release will be in the IVOA 2007 Spring Interoperability meeting.


VObs.it (aka DRACO) Italy


Francoise Genova has become the Euro-VO Executive Board chair on July 1st, following Peter Quinn's departure from ESO.

The contract establishing the Euro-VO Data Center Alliance Coordination Action has been signed by the European Commission on July 1st. The project will start on September 1st as foreseen. The project has 5 workpackages: establishing a medium term strategy (resp.: CNRS); support to take-up of the VO framework by data centres (resp:ESA, ESO), with a sub-work package (Feedback from implementation, resp.: AstroGrid); theory in the VO (resp.: MPG); relations with the computational Grid (resp.: INAF); support to data centres from data centres from other European countries (resp.: INTA).

The Euro-VO Facility Centre (ESO, ESA) has taken in charge the logistics of the IVOA booth at the IAU Prague General Assembly.

Francoise Genova, 16 August 2006

France VO

France VO activities since May:

(1) The census of VO-related project in France is being updated, in preparation for the start of the Euro-VO DCA project. About 40 answers have been received, and all Observatories, and GRAAL (Montpellier), IAP (Paris) and IAS (Orsay), have sent at least one answer. A poster detailing the projects has been prepared for Special Session 3 of the IAU General Assembly.

(2) Travel funds have been attributed following the second 2006 AO, to cover travel to the Moscow Interoperability meeting and France VO Working Group and collaboration meetings.

(3) VO Presentations and posters at the 2006 WEEK of French Astronomy. A half-day meeting, to discuss the census results and the evolution of the Euro-VO context, in particular the incoming start of the Data Centre Alliance project, has been organized during the French Astronomical Society meeting. A poster session was also organized, allowing presentations from individual projects. A talk was presented during the plenary session, insisting this year on the science usage of VO and the availability of tools (with a very positive response from the audience). A common half-day meeting was also organized with the Solar-Terrestrial Physics Program.

(4) France VO Working Group meetings:

Francoise Genova, 16 August 2006




Korean VO





Reports from WGs

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Most effort available to the working group has been dedicated to VOSpace. The VOSpace standard is now approaching a v1.0 WD and three prototypes of VOSpace-1 are being built, at Caltech, at ESO and in AstroGrid.

It is intended to demonstrate at the Moscow Interop a "strawman" protoype of an asynchronous query-service based on UWS-PA. This will consume ADQL v1.0 and may inform the query-language/query-service debate. An initial draft of the UWS-PA contract, based on the prototype, will be presented at the same time.

Semantics/UCD WG

Data Models WG

Data Access Layer WG

Release of the draft V1.0 SSA specification has slipped a bit, however this is progressing well and we are confident of completing this in time to review in the Moscow interop. Work on the Spectrum data model, being done with DM, is complete except for minor changes resulting from integration with the SSA query interface. Issues pertaining to integration of Characterization and STC have been resolved. Current work is focused mainly on the SSA service interface.

There has been a great deal of discussion of table and catalog access since the Victoria interop, and this is expected to continue with the Moscow meeting. The current thinking is that we need a simple table/catalog access interface in DAL to provide basic access to individual tables or astronomical catalogs. This would be a major upgrade to cone search and is also important to be able to integrate ADQL technology into the other DAL interfaces. The interface should be consistent with the other DAL interfaces and with the basic service profile being developed by GWS and Registry, should support both GET/POST and SOAP interfaces, and should be defined via a written specification independently of implementation. The catalog version of this would be based on the source catalog model being developed by DM and VOQL. Both syntax-based and parameter-based interfaces are needed; the syntax-based interface would use the ADQL technology from VOQL. The issue of large scale, distributed cross matches, as is already addressed by SkyNode, is also very important but is probably best addressed elsewhere.

We still plan to advance the legacy cone search and SIA interfaces to preliminary recommendations in the Moscow meeting. SLAP is also ready to progress to this stage, although further minor changes may be needed to conform to the basic service profile being developed for SSA. The SNAP interface (for theory data) is in the hands of the Theory group at this point and we have done nothing further within DAL. Little further has been done on cube data access and SIA since Victoria, but we continue to work with radio survey groups (notably Arecibo) on prototyping access to spectral data cubes in VO, e.g., using the interim CGPS interfaces developed by CADC and CDS. Progress has been made on interfacing time series data (mainly solar data at this point) by S.Dalla (Astrogrid); we hope to take this further within DAL in the next year, once work on SSA V1.0 is completed.

Registry WG

My apologies but the report will not be done for this meeting. I will get a report of activities against the Registry Roadmap (IvoaResReg#Roadmap) before the Moscow meeting.

The issue I can speak to is submission of the RM and Identifier documents. Both of these have passed their review periods but there is an outstanding question to be resolved on the Identifier spec. When that is complete I will submit the two specs to the Exec for consideration.

Document Standards WG -

  • this group is no longer active

VOEvent WG

Since the Victoria meeting, the VOEvent specification has been issued as a Proposed Recommendation, with a four-week Request for Comment period that started July 11. The page can be found at IVOA.VOEventRFC . A few small changes have been made to the spcieifcaiton and schema. There are interoperable prototypes running at Caltech, Exeter, and Los Alamos. The Working Group is hoping for a vote on Recommendation at this meeting.

VOTable WG


After last interop meeting in Victoria, there has been a change in the chair of the group. The exec appointed Pedro Osuna as the new chairman of the group, and Yuji Shirasaki as vice-chairman and technical expert, as of 27th of July this year.

Very interesting discussions surfaced at the interop meeting in Victoria which will need re-visiting in Moscow.

In particular, the proper specification of the ADQL language per se and an eventual migration of a general ADQL access protocol to the DAL will be tackled at the Moscow meeting in collaboration with the DAL group (see above report from Doug Tody), following discussion within the working group.

Several comments have been received on the new ADQL/SkyNode specs and will be brought to Moscow for discussion.

The new chairman and vice-chairman will meet during the IAU in Prague to get up to date on VOQL group issues, and will eventually send a note with a possible plan of action for the Moscow meeting.

Applications IG

The Applications Interest Group continues to provide a forum for announcement and discussion of new and improved VO tools.

The participants in the group are predominantly developers and astronomers involved in VO projects, but as more tools and services are implemented, scientists are being encouraged to use the Apps IG pages to find links and information about VO applications.

The Apps IG maintains a list of Applications on the wiki pages, and since the last meeting the Canadinan VO "Octet" catalog exploration tool, and SAADA database generator have been added. Various VOEvent applications and the VO India VOConvert table format converter have been announced on the mailing list

A protocol called PLASTIC, developed intially in the Euro-VO VO-TECH project, which allows VO tools to interact, has been quite successful with an increasing number of tools implementing it. An IVOA note is being prepared and will probably be finalised at this meeting.

Feedback on the IVOA standards has been sought from VO Apps developers on the mailing list and in discussion at the May meeting but more effort is required here. The registry Interface, SSA, and the Data Model were idnetified as crtitical areas for which applications need standards to proceed. We intend to complete a more in depth assessment of how the standards are being use in the applications.

Theory IG

The main tasks the theory group set itself in Victoria were: 1. Unified proposal for theory specific additions to Semantics UCD and Vocabulary lists. Laurie Shaw is leading this effort, but is also writing up his PhD thesis, hence delays. Frank LePetit and others have made contributions to this effort on the mailing list. 2. Write a proposal for a "Simple Numerical Access Protocol". Claudia Gheller leads this effort, which includes the testing of binary VOTable formats for use by theorists. He has proposed (on the mailing list) an approach for this and asked for feedback and prototype implementations for simulation data. 3. A poll among theorists about the data formats they use for storing (large) simulation results. Dave Zurek leads this effort which, after reminding, he is taking up actively now. 4. A data model for simulation metadata. Gerard Lemson leads this effort which has not progressed since Victoria, but will have a draft by Moscow.

Data Curation and Preservation IG

The preservation community (archivist profession) is now testing use of data grids to build preservation environments. A major step forward was the publication of the paper by R. Moore on Building Preservation Environments with Data Grid Technology, American Archivist, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 139-158, July 2006. This paper defines why the preservation concepts of authenticity and integrity need to be augmented with digital preservation concepts of infrastructure independence, scalability, and federation. An implementation using the Storage Resource Broker data grid is presented.

Irene Barg has applied the SRB data grid technology for preservation of National Optical Astronomy Observatory images. The NOAO implementation federates six independent data grids, and pulls images from a data grid that manages images taken at the telescope in Cerro Tololo, to a data grid in La Serena, Chile, to a data grid in Tucson, Arizona, and then to an archive at NCSA.

The Global Grid Forum has initiated a Grid Interoperation Now working group to test the federation of independent data grids. The original federation effort for the 17th Global Grid Forum meeting demonstrated a federation of 14 SRB data grids, including the NOAO, DEISA, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, SARA, Taiwan ASGC, Japan KEK and Teragrid data grids. In collaboration with the GGF Preservation Environments working group, a demonstration is planned for the 18th Global Grid Forum meeting in Washington DC on Sept 11-14, 2006 of the use of the federated data grids for preservation. Irene Barg is contributing a 1-Gigabyte image collection that will be replicated between multiple data grids within the federation. The goal is to demonstrate compliance with authenticity and integrity assertions.

The Large-scale Synoptic Survey Telescope project has also been exploring preservation requirements. They currently envision the preservation of more than 100 Petabytes of data, starting in 2013. A testbed similar to that used by NOAO is being implemented (R. Plante). Three SRB data grids are being federated to emulate the telescope at the top of the mountain, the base station at the bottom of the mountain, and the archive. The system will be used to evaluate the capability of current data grid technology to manage preservation of 5 Terabytes of data per day.

Astro-RG IG

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