IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM32)

Sun May 24 2009 @ 16.00-18.00 CST

Wed May 27 2009 @ 12.30-14.30 CST - Supplementary


Full Meeting: Salle de réunion - see website at http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/interop2009/index.html


  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Minutes of TM31
  3. Welcome to Brazil VO
  4. Review of Actions
  5. Project Reports ­- Significant Events Only
  6. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  7. TCG status - CA
  8. Reports by WGs and IGs
  9. Newsletter - MA
  10. Report by committees - DDY
    • Liaison Committee
    • Take-up Committee
  11. ICSU SCCID (Terms of Reference and Membership) - FP
  12. Proposal for a group on "VO implementation" - DS
  13. Future Interop meetings
  14. AOB
  15. Summary of Actions

Agenda (Supplementary)

  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Report by Take-up Committee - DDY
  3. Discussion on priorities - all
  4. WG issues - CA
  5. Proposal for a group on "VO implementation" - DS
  6. Report by Liaison Committee - DDY
  7. Future Interop meetings
  8. AOB
  9. Summary of Actions

Reports from the Projects


ArVO group members at present are: A.M. Mickaelian (Principal Investigator), H.V. Astsatryan (Technical Manager), T.Yu. Magakian and L.K. Erastova (Project Scientists), L.A. Sargsyan, P.K. Sinamyan, and S.A. Ghazaryan (Scientific/Technical Assistants), and G.A. Mikayelyan (Web Master). Two more students from the Yerevan State University (YSU) are involved in the project, too.

Using the computer hardware (ArmCluster) and software possibilites at the Armenian Institute of Informatics and Automation Problems (IIAP), we have installed the full Digitized First Byurakan Survey (DFBS) database in Armenia, which is the copy of the same database created by the M.I.G.G. team in Rome and will serve for the Armenian students to work on new science projects. The Armenian VO server at the IIAP has been set up and soon will be open. The establishment and utilization of the Virtual Observatories standards in Armenia is being continued.

One of the recent works was the creation of Byurakan Observatory electronic plate database (BPD v1 contains data for some 11,000 plates) with full access by various parameters: sky area, observing project, telescope, observing mode, data of observations, observer, etc. The digitization works of the Byurakan archive plates are being continued. The digitized Byurakan plates will make up the main part of the Armenian astronomical data centre.

The low-dispersion spectra classification works have been started, too. It is planned that the users will have access to all 40,000,000 spectra and their suggested classification, which will allow to select objects of necessary types, make samples, study definite fields, etc. Developments for conducting scientific projects using the DFBS are in progress, including automatic search for UVX and late-type stars, variable objects, and new bright QSOs, optical identifications of radio, IR, and X-ray sources.

A new ISTC project (A-1606) on "Development of Armenian-Georgian Grid Infrastructure and applications in the Fields of High Energy Physics, Astrophysics and Quantum Physics" has been conducted in collaboration with 6 other Armenian and Georgian institutions, which includes the development of Armenian-Georgian VO based on the plate databases of Byurakan and Abastumani observatories.


A new release of VO Desktop is imminent - revised documentation is under construction. This has some significant enhancements. A full release of our infrastructure software is scheduled for mid-June. This will provide things of much interest to other VO projects, so we will announce it widely when ready.

On the political front, the future form and funding of the VO in the UK remains uncertain. The general idea is to close Astrogrid and wrap up the product, and create the new entity VOTC:UK, focused on support of facilities and data centres. This concept is under (slow) review, but STFC remains in a very difficult financial situation...


Brazil-VO (BVO)


The new NAOC 100 square meters machine room is almost completed after 3 months' construction. It will put into operation in June. The room will serve the China-VO, national archive center, and NAOC HPC projects.

An internal preview version of the database system for the LAMOST telescope has been finished with about 300 GB initial test data from the telescope. TAP interfaces are implemented in the system. A public version should be available by the end of the year or early next year.

The China-VO team is leading a live broadcast program for a total solar eclipse on July 22 2009, which is taken as one of the core activities in the International Year of Astronomy 2009 in China. Collaborating with Microsoft Research and another two partners, the project, "Multi-site Federated Live Broadcast of Giant China Eclipse, International Year of Astronomy 2009", will take full advantages of the information and network technologies. Multiple observation sites will be organized inside the wide eclipse region, especially large cities inside the total solar belt. Signals from different sites will be transferred to a central broadcast studio through high-speed network backbone. After synthesization, public signal will be released to various portals, including website, TV, mobile phone, etc, and then accessible for the public through these portals. More information is available at "http://eclipse.astronomy2009.org.cn". English version website will be available in the next few weeks.

Two VO related funding projects are at the last stage of contract preparation. The final results will be available in the summer.



The MoU to formalise the on-going collaboration across Italy regarding VO activities within VObs.it: has been distributed to INAF, ASI, CINECA and the Universities of Padua and Naples (“Federico II”) for comments.

The IA2 data centre continues developing a VO-compliant LBT-wide archive, in collaboration with Heidelberg and Tucson; the staffing level for this activity is appropriate.

VObs.it staff is coordinating the A&A “cluster” within the EU-funded EGEE-III project, with the purpose of porting on the grid application software of astrophysical interest. VO-enabled codes are high in the priorities. The A&A cluster is managing the transition to the European Grid Initiative (EGI). A meeting has been organised at the Strasbourg Interop on Monday.

VObs.it work is progressing within the EU-funded projects VO-Tech and EuroVO-AIDA. In particular, VObs.it staff is active in preparing VO material for education purposes.


The first European “hands-on” VO School was held at ESO Mar. 30 – Apr. 2, 2009 as part of the activities of the Euro-VO AIDA project (see http://www.euro-vo.org/aidahandson2009/). The aim of the school, targeted mostly at PhD students and young post-docs, was to expose European astronomers to the many available VO tools and services so that they could be used efficiently for research purposes. The school involved 40 students, out of the 75 who requested to participate, and 15 tutors and tool developers. Based on the input received from the participants during the hands-on and feedback sessions the school was a great success.

The next milestone are the EuroVO-AIDA Workshop on how to publish data in the VO, which is organised by ESAC and will be held 22-26 June 2009, and the second Call for Proposal of the EuroVO-AIDA Research Initiative, which offers support to archival research or projects using the VO (the call will close on 15 July 2009).

Other recent milestones of EuroVO-AIDA have been

  • the recent release of the fully harvestable Euro-VO Registry mid-March by ESAC
  • the third Euro-VO Technology Forum, held in Strasbourg 16-18 March 2009? These meetings are a successful legacy of VO-TECH. They intend to provide joint planning, sharing of best practice, dissemination of results, and technology exchange for all Euro-VO partners.

The EuroVO-DCA project, a Coordination Action of the FP6 which ended on 31 December 2008, underwent successfully its final review in April 2009. The final documents, 'Framework for inclusion of Theory data and services in the VO', European Data Centre Census, and Medium term strategy document for the Data Centre Alliance, will soon be made available. European level VO activities continue to be funded by the EuroVO-AIDA FP7 Integrated Infrastructure Initiative. The VO-TECH FP6 Design Study has been extended to the end of June 2009.

France VO




Korean VO


The NVO Project continued to operate on its remaining carry-forward funds from FY08, with the result that development activities have stopped in all but a few areas and support and operational work is continuing on a best-effort basis only. We will begin a formal close-out of the project and submit a final report through the standard channels.

The NVO data discovery portal was released on 19 February. This represents a major redesign of the NVO web page and provides greater connectivity between portal components (directory, inventory, etc.).

Progress on the Table Access Standard stalled for a period of about two months at the beginning of the quarter. The NVO team has been working with the IVOA Data Access Layer WG Chair and others in IVOA leadership to try to get this work back on track. As of this writing, e-mail discussions have resumed on the DAL e-mail list. In concert with work on the TAP protocol, efforts are also underway to prepare the VO Registry for including TAP services. Our goal is to reach consensus on the TAP standard and associated issues at the May Interop meeting in Strasbourg.

Other preparatory activities for the Strasbourg Interop meeting included preparation of agendas for the Applications WG (T. McGlynn) and Grid and Web Services WG (M. Graham).

Routine testing of VO services has been expanded and now includes regular testing of all cone search and SIAP services known from the NVO registry.



Manpower: 9 FTEs. The SVO Thematic Network (people from Spanish institutes with interest in the VO) is composed of almost 100 members.

Standards: Work on access protocols and models for theoretical data is progressing. Information on this topic can be found at: http://svo.laeff.inta.es/theory/


- A new paper has been published: "An IPHAS-based search for accreting very low-mass objects using VO tools". L. Valdivielso, E. L. Martín, H. Bouy, E. Solano et al. 2009 A&A 497, 973–981.

- First Spanish Ph.D. thesis on VO: "Integration of archives and radio astronomical tools in the Virtual Observatory architecture". Juan de Dios Santander (co-supervised by Enrique Solano).


- Participation in the EuroVO-AIDA School (Garching, March 2009): 2 tutors + 7 students from SVO

- Participation in the third EuroVO Technology Forum (Strasbourg, March 2009).


Reports from WGs & IGs(follows order as at http://www.ivoa.net/forum/)

Applications WG

SAMP V1.11 has been adopted as an IVOA Recommendation and has been implemented in a variety of software tools. Many of these will be demonstrated at this meeting. There are no immediate plans for an extension of the protocol though there have been some discussions of new SAMP messages.

The IVOA Wiki is successfully hosting the current SAMP message vocabulary.

During the IVOA meeting we are sponsoring a joint session with G&WS to show how applications can effectively use the VOSpace standard and to provide feedback to those who are defining. We anticipate comparable cross-cutting sessions in future IVOA meetings.

Our other sessions are designed to showcase new applications and have been fully subscribed.

Data Access Layer WG


Draft 0.5 published ready for discussion at Interop. Some details are still to be finalised but on course for submission as outlined in TCG plan. See: http://wiki.ivoa.net/internal/IVOA/TableAccess/TAP-0.5.pdf

V0.2 of the TAP parameterized query document has also been published and will be reviewed during the Interop.

See: http://wiki.ivoa.net/internal/IVOA/TableAccess/PQL-0.2-20090520.pdf


V1.1 of the SIAP document has been published as a Proposed Recommendation and is in its RFC period. Given the history of SIAP V1, too many issues are not anticipated!

See: http://www.ivoa.net/Documents/PR/DAL/PR-SIA-1.1-20090521.html

and: http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/SiaV1RFC


First Working Draft in production. Discussion at Interop, hopefully document will be published before the meeting. Original material can be found at:



V0.9 of the SLAP/SSLDM document has been released in conjunction with SSLDM, RFC after Interop.

See: http://wiki.ivoa.net/internal/IVOA/SpectralLineListsDocs/WD-SSLDM-0.9-20090518.pdf

and: http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/SpectralLineListsDocs


Prototypes in progress:
  • Integration with DAL SIAP based on the STC standard: VOTable with STC utypes and STC/s (string representation of footprint)
  • Observation Data model/Characterization Data model STC footprint integration validation ongoing
Registry VODataService schema has footprint metadata place holder for implementation publication and search Forthcoming work:
  • Formalization of footprint service level methods
  • Understanding connection with TAP ADQL and DAL-2 regions
  • Evolve reference implementation use cases with respect to the footprint service level, simple GET, basic methods, and advanced

Data Models WG

  • Observation DM: Complex data and interpretation metadata: A. Richards has issued a draft describing the use-case for polarisation data.New examples and a sketch for schemata update for resolution variability, sensitivity and transmission curves , by F. Bonnarel and I. Chilingarian.
  • Provenance: RADAMS data model by Juan Santander-Vela (PHD extract)
  • Photometry DM: A simple model developed for magnitude comparison within EuroVO-Aida project WP7, ESAC
  • Characterisation DM: (F. Bonnarel, M.Louys) Schema update Characterisation v2.0 and new utype lists with shorter strings.
  • Units: (A. Richards)Draft v0.1 circulated in DM and VotableWG. first proposal for an homogenised syntax and a simple data model.
  • Utypes: (M.Louys) Draft v0.3 to be circulated in DM , DAL and VOTable WG. Syntax definition and use description.
  • STC: A. Rots updated STC-S and developed of a Java Library

Grid and Web Services Working Group

  • VOSpace 1.1 is now under TCG review.
  • Credential Delegation Protocol document is being re-editted.
  • First VOSpace 2.0 WD has been released.

Registry WG

Semantics/UCD WG

VO Vocabularies

The Vocabularies document has passed RFC and TCG review periods. We were awaiting SKOS to become a W3C Recommendation. Currently, SKOS is in Reference Candidate Recommendation, 17 March 2009. The status of the IVOA PR will be discussed in the first Semantics session.


There have been a few suggestions for new UCD words. Additions to the current list of standard words are not a problem, as the current UCD remain compatible.


  • Hotwired2 very successful, see the presentations
  • The community is active and growing like a weed
  • We will return to the interop with sessions in the Fall
  • We are working on a Hotwired Book
  • v2.0 is moving forward, v1.11 continues serving diverse operationally deployed needs
  • SEAP is top priority after v2.0
  • time series discussions are converging, deserves broader context
  • we are eager to put vocabularies to good use
  • work continues on portfolios, VOEventStreams, other advanced features
  • have proposed time domain conference for SPIE 2010
  • likely Hotwired3 in 2011


VOTable WG

Recent (and intense) discussions about VOTable connection with TAP to ensure that the columns descriptions are complete wrt TAP needs; final decision to be taken in this meeting

VOEvent group (unfortunately absent at this meeting) seem to define a VOTIMESERIES close, but different from, VOTable, for somewhat obscure reasons. On the opposite, it seems that ITRF (International Terrestrial Reference Frame) is starting to implement VOTable1.2 to distribute its solutions.

Astro-RG IG

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Theory IG

SimDB developments:

  • model is getting cleaned up, denormalised version worked on.
  • discussions about use of semantics held in small bursts on mailing list
  • worked on relation SimDB and SimDAP and S3.
  • various implementations in progress : GAVO (Lemson), VO-France (LePetit), VObs.It (Manzato et al.) and NVO (Rick).
SimDAP developments:
  • implementations in progress: NVO (Rick), VObs.It (Gheller et al.) or planned (VO-France, LePetit)
  • Drafted the VOTable response from SimDAP servers
  • Some work on the SimDAP, but this needs input on the VOTable output, and the role of S3
S3 developments:
  • waiting for comments on S3 and any possible relation to SimDB/!SimDAP.
Goals for this interop:
  • Discussion about SimDB in dedicated TIG session: demarcate SimDB: transition to 2 working drafts: data model and SimDB
protocol (TAP only as much as possible)
  • DM session: usage of SimDB and any issues not dealt with in TIG session
  • DAL session: SimDB as a special TAP service, getting S3 to the consideration of DAL people (some discussion on how this group works and why the mailing list is almost never used (for instance, in this case)).
  • get tiger team going (hopefully at least one splinter session)
  • Discuss the level of detail in the SimDAP VOTable response
  • For S3: Understanding it better, Seeing if it can use the simulation data model, Looking for overlap in functionality with SimDAP

Stds & Process


The second issue of the IVOA Newsletter was published last Friday.

The call for contributions to the newsletter received a good response, providing 6 short items about 'Applications Highlights' which is consider about the right number for such a newsletter. Only one contribution was delayed to a following issue, so as to not have more than one item from the same contributor.

The target audience is astronomers, and we tried to keep the focus on this audience. There were some suggestions to have an item on SAMP becoming a recommendation, but we preferred to aim for an item in the next newsletter about applications working together, rather than an item just about the standard.

All went smoothly with the compilation and publication of the newsletter and it was vetted by the oversight group prior to release. We expect the following issues to follow the same format.

The exec received an email requesting announcement of the newsletter on their national mailing lists. We encourage the exec members to do this to widen the audience for the newsletter.

Any comments or suggestions on the newsletter are welcome.

IVOA Newsletter Editors: Mark G. Allen, Sarah Emery Bunn, Evanthia Hatziminaoglou, Bob Mann, Thomas. A. McGlynn, Christopher J. Miller, Anita M.S. Richards, Jonathan Tedds

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