IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM34)

Sun Nov 8 2009 @ 16.00-18.00 CET

Wed Nov 11 2009 @ 12.30-14.00 CET - Supplementary


Full Meeting: ESO Garching, Council Room


  1. Roll Call and Agenda -­ FP
  2. Minutes of TM 33
  3. Review of Action Items ­- FP
  4. TCG status - CA
  5. Reports by WGs - WG Chairs
  6. Standards documents and process - Bruno Rino (presentation, merged Spectral metadata definitions) + discussion
  7. Prioritisation path - DDY + all
  8. AOB

Agenda FM34 Supplementary

  1. Roll Call and Agenda -­ FP
  2. Minutes of FM 34
  3. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  4. Prioritisation path (ctd.)
  5. Standards documents and process (ctd.)
  6. IVOA Web site - AL
  7. WG Chairs (VOQL, Registry) ; Exec Secretary
  8. Discontinuation of Astro-RG as IG - MO
  9. Next Interops
  10. Date of next meeting
  11. AOB
  12. Review of Action items

Reports from the Projects


AstroGrid (UK-VO)

Since our report for TM33, we have submitted a proposal to STFC to support the creation of the AstroGrid Software Foundation, as an open source project to maintain and develop the AstroGrid technical infrastructure suite. We will welcome software contributions from other VO projects and data centre staff, as well as ex-AstroGrid staff on continuing EU and UK VO-related projects. The proposal has been submitted under "urgency procedure" so we hope for an answer soon.

Meanwhile, it is worth repeating that we have made a full documented release of the infrastructure software, which can be found at http://deployer.astrogrid.org . This is intended for both data centres and other VO projects. As before, the astronomer user-software is downloadable from a separate site, http://www.astrogrid.org


BRAVO (Brazil)


Please refer to the report for TM33: http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/IvoaExecMeetingTM33#China_VO



France VO




Some Japan-VO members joined the LOC of the ADASS2009 held in Sapporo, Japan. There were about 220 participants, and JVO members presented our progress at the ADASS meeting. Yuji Shirasaki has submitted a science paper on the evolution of AGNs over wide redshift ranges by using all the SuprimeCAM images (http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.5380). The paper is expected to be published soon.

Korean VO


NVO remains in a state of very constrained activity as we wait for NSF to release the promised funding for the VAO. Progress is being made in resolving legal issues concerning the relationship between the agency and the VAO, LLC, the new organization founded by AUI and AURA to manage the VAO. However, given that all previous expectations of progress have not been met, we are reluctant to predict when VAO will really get going.

On the other hand, NASA's initial contribution to VAO is now funded, and in the absence of an overall project plan (which cannot be completed until the NSF funding is in place), we are engaged in core maintenance and support activities such as registry curation and service testing and validation.

US VO staff continue to hold weekly technical telecons on a best-effort basis.

We have recruited a VAO Science Council, but that body will not convene until we have resolved the NSF funding issues.

We have also established a VAO Board of Directors, which met by telecon in July and will meet again by telecon later in November. Dr. Jay Gallagher (U. Wisconsin, and editor of the Astronomical Journal) is the chair of the VAO Board.

BobHanisch, 4 Nov 2009



Manpower: 9 FTEs. The SVO Thematic Network (people from Spanish institutes with interest in the VO) is composed of 112 members in 28 institutes.

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/

VO-compliance of astronomical archives:

- The LAEX and NASA portals for COROT public data.2009A&A...506..455S. E. Solano, K. von Braun, A. Velasco, D. R. Ciardi, R. Gutiérrez,

- GAIA and the Virtual Observatory. Gaia: The Galaxy in a Petabyte. Menorca, Spain. Oct 2009. Enrique Solano (invited talk).

- E-ELT, ALMA and the Virtual Observatory. Scientific and techonological challenges in the development of astronomical instrumentation: ALMA and E-ELT. Madrid, Sep 2009. Enrique Solano (invited talk).

- The Virtual Observatory and the archives of the robotic telescopes. III Workshop on Robotic Telescopes in Spain. Madrid, Sep 2009. Enrique Solano (oral presentation).

Data Mining:

- Automated supervised classification of variable stars. II. Application to the OGLE database. Sarro, L. M.; Debosscher, J.; López, M.; Aerts, C. 2009 A&A, 494, 739.

- Statistical techniques. Gaia: The Galaxy in a Petabyte. Menorca, Spain. Oct 2009. Luis Manuel Sarro (invited talk).

VO Science:

- Discovery of ultracool subdwrafs using Virtual Observatory tools. Workshop on Recipes for making brownies: theory vs. observations. ESTEC, The Netherlands, September 2009. E. Solano (oral presentation).

- Protoplanetary discs of isolated VLMOs discovered in the IPHAS survey. Workshop on Recipes for making brownies: theory vs. observations. ESTEC, The Netherlands, September 2009. L. Valdivielso,E. Martín, H. Bouy, E. Solano, J.Drew, R. Greimel, B. Riaz (oral presentation).

Theory and VO:

- Asteroseismology and the VO. XXXII Bienal de Física. Ciudad Real, Spain. Sep 2009. J.C. Suárez, E. Solano, C. Rodriguez, A. García-Hernández, A. Moya. (oral presentation).


- The Virtual Observatory in the classroom. III Workshop on Robotic telescopes in Spain. Madrid, Sep 2009. Miriam Aberasturi, Enrique Solano.


- First SVO School. Granada 27-28 octiber 2009. http://svo.laeff.inta.es/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpWiki&file=index&pagename=Meetings-SVO_thematic_network_First_Hands-on


VObs.it keeps active in the following areas: implementing prototypes related to the integration within the VO of theory data and revising the draft IVOA standards in the field; implementing embedded access to the grid as part of data centre services; developing VO-aware data mining tools; developing VO-enabled 3-D visualisation tools; studying and implementing ontology for the VO; preparing tools for access to the VO for educational/outreach purposes.

A new version is available for the educational/outreach system (“AIDA-WP5” initiative), built by VObs.it within the EuroVO-AIDA project funded by the EU. The purpose is to make students, teachers and amateurs accessing the VO via guided use cases and simplified tools.

INAF, CINECA and the Universities of Padua and Naples “Federico II” are preparing, with the support of VObs.it and in the EuroVO-AIDA framework, a set of seminars to demonstrate the capabilities of the VO to the Italian community. This activity, called “VO on tour” will reach 8 to 10 Italian site between November 2009 and spring 2010.

The IA2 data centre, part of VObs.it, continues developing a VO-compliant LBT-wide archive, in collaboration with Heidelberg and Tucson.

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.

A request for funding VObs.it activities in 2010 is being prepared to be submitted to INAF.


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

Applications WG

There has been limited formal activity within Apps on standards. However, as will be shown in this meeting, there has been significant work in implementing SAMP and in extending the protocol to new classes of applications, e.g., distributed and Web applications.

Data Access Layer WG

DAL remains focused in three main areas, TAP, SIAP and Footprint Services with most focus on the first two.

Progress in TAP is slow but positive. The standard is just completing its second RFC period and I believe the core requirements have been met. Editorial changes will be completed once the RFC period ends and I look forward to completing the process during the Garching Interop.
Footnote: TAP V1.0 will not be perfect, but it is implementable, does fulfill the 80/20 rule and will provide the basis for future expansion of TAP capabilities. As an organisation, IVOA needs to be agile in accommodating those changes.

SIAv1 is effectively complete and ready for retrospective approval.

First draft version SIAv2 specification has been finished. This is largely the work of the core author group with some contributions from the extended author group. It is very much an early draft but summarizes the lines that have been discussed. The draft will be uploaded to the wiki and announced in the DAL forum in time for the Interop sessions where it will be extensively discussed.

SSAP discussions have centred on implementing prototype servers/client that contain photometric data (instead of spectra) in the context of the AIDA project.

Generic Data Set discussions have largely stopped and focus turned to the official ObsDM/TAP work that is proceeding along similar lines.

Footprint effort is still ongoing (and will be presented during DAL sessions) but this remains a back-burner effort for now.

Data Models WG MireilleLouys, 6 Nov 2009


ObsCoreComponents DM: fast track

Usecases for data discovery in multiwavelength data discovery. A set of various data discovery cases gathered by David Schade from Exec memebers and other scientists, has been described.

According to theses we started the conception of the ObsCore Data model to describe the necessary metadata for these queries. We defined a set of 16 items that should be suported by a service in order to match the defined use-cases.

There has been 3 meetings to keep the project on the track: Strasbourg in July, Trieste in September, Baltimore in November, where the first proposal was exposed and discussed with various people in charge of the main data centers archives. Data providers feedback is currently beeing collected. Implementations are currently discussed.

Full Observation DM : Current suggestions appearing for complex observations.


  • A prototype data model proposition by ESAC discussed in Trieste (Euro-VO AIDA).
  • SED modeling based on the Spectrum DM (CfA)

Polarisation: a new WD for a Note and examples have been prepared by Anita Richards.

Provenance: Juan de Dios Santander, Arancha Delgado involved in provenance modeling at ESO ( A. Micol)

Utypes: A new draft has just appeared. Unfortunately the previous versions distributed in May was not much commented.

Units: Current draft revision and preparation of a BNF grammar and parser to be able to:

  1. validate a string as a standard IVOA unit
  2. recognise a valid notation and suggest a better IVOA compliant string
  3. reject a unit string if totally incorrect.

Grid and Web Services Working Group

VOSpace 1.15 has become an IVOA Recommendation. Credential Delegation Protocol has completed its RFC and awaiting final TCG approval. UWS is currently under RFC and VOSI is on the verge of going to RFC. Basic Web Profile (WS-I) is almost ready to go to PR. VOSpace 2.0 development has continued through the summer and hopefully all remaining issues can be resolved at this meeting.

Registry WG

The attention of the Registry Working Group over the last six months has been on developing standards documents and on addressing registry interoperability and curation issues.

We just completed an RFC period for the VODataService XML metadata extension schema during a time when there a large number of documents under review. At the end, we only had 3 reviews. It was developed over a long period of time with broad input and in close collaboration with the TAP and VOSI efforts, and while there is nothing particularly controversial about this specification, some advisement as to whether the current response is enough to proceed. One suggestion is to make a special request to the registry efforts in the major projects to "sign off" on the RFC page.

The documents of interest for us VOStandard, VOApplication, and RegSimpleDAL (registry metadata extensions for SCS, SIA, and SSA). Working Drafts are now available for all three of these, and I expect that, since again their history is long and are not controversial, these can be prepped for PR fairly quickly. At this Interop, we will decide the priorities.

On the curation side, we are seeing ever increasing efforts to improve the quality of the records in our registries and the services they point to. Aurelien Stebe from the Euro-VO has developed initial versions of validaters for SSA and SLAP services (using the existing validation toolkit developed by the NVO project); this week he will present these validators as well as our efforts to build more IVOA-wide ownership of the validation process and the tests that go into them. The NVO project continues to push both automated (via software validaters) and human driven curation practices intended to improve interoperability. We will have a session on this topic this week which will include a discussion of a process for correcting registry records. Last Interop, we took an action to record our current practices, tips, and recommendations for running and use registries; we will open up that effort this week.

-- RayPlante - 08 Nov 2009

Semantics/UCD WG

After SKOS became a W3C Recommendation this summer, the "Vocabularies in the Virtual Observatory" document v1.19 became an IVOA recommendation on October 07, 2009. This gives a solid block on which groups willing to develop SKOS vocabularies for the VO can rely on.

Several groups (VOEvent, DM) are likely to develop implementations of vocabularies: need for support.

There have been a few new inputs to the new version of the UCD document, and it still needs minor editorial changes before distribution as a new WD. New version v1.24.


Development continues on VOEvent 2.0 and SEAP. Community uptake also continues apace as well as associated initiatives such as SkyAlert.


VOTable WG

VOTable-1.2 standard is now ready for REC. Short story:
  • RFC period 2009-07-10 to 2009-09-09 (on version 20090710): useful discussions (esp. compatibility issues with other standards, and finalisation wrt TAP-required additions discussed at the Strasbourg meeting) which led to modifications of the document and XML-schema ==> PR-20090929
  • TCG review period (2009-10-01 to 2009-11-06): as usual, despite reminders, not all WGs filled their part (6/13 are still missing at the end of the period). Editorial correction suggestions have been applied ==> PR-VOTable-1.2-20091102.pdf (+html) which I consider as the final version ready for REC. useful discussions too about the role of the elementFormDefault attribute in the schema (should there be an IVOA recommendation?) ==> ammended version of the VOTable-1.2 XML schema.
  • All these documents are now in their correct location (thanks to Bruno) and I expect the REC blessing can occur now. There is no need for a VOTable session here, but the future status of the VOtable WG should be defined.
FrancoisOchsenbein 07Nov2009

Astro-RG IG

No activities since the last InterOp.

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Theory IG

The activity of Theory Interest Group has focused on several activities.

- Simulation Data Model (SimDM): work as been done to extend and complete the data model. The effort has been split in two main parts, the first dedicated to the specification of the overall model, with a descriptive introduction to the adopted methodology and a detailed description of the resulting schema, the second dedicated to the derivation on a SimDM based TAP-like service, which can be used as a support to SimDAP. Furthermore, the SimDM-TAP can be seen as an alternative (but equivalent) realization of a S3 service. This is a basic step in the direction of integration and homogeneization of the two protocols. Further discussion is expected during the Interop.

- Simulation Data Access Protocol (SimDAP): we have worked to extend and generalize the protocol in order to be suitable to a large variety of numerical data. The main objective is still to select and subsample a dataset, but now with a generic number of dimensions (not just 3D) and using arbitrary selection paramenters (not just the coordinates). The protocol has been defined in most of the details, even if more discussion and work is needed on the responses and results issues.

Standards & Processes

-- FabioPasian - 11 Nov 2009

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Microsoft Word filedoc IVOAPrioritization1109b.doc r1 manage 28.0 K 2009-11-11 - 12:45 BobHanisch  
Microsoft Word filedoc IVOATake-UpRept0909.doc r1 manage 28.5 K 2009-11-06 - 14:41 BobHanisch Take-Up Committee Report
PowerPointppt SSA_SDM_assessment.ppt r1 manage 207.5 K 2009-11-08 - 22:54 BrunoRino SSA+SDM assessment presentation
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheetxls SSA_SDM_assessment.xls r1 manage 63.5 K 2009-11-08 - 22:54 BrunoRino SSA+SDM assessment: comparing metadata definitions
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Topic revision: r37 - 2010-05-07 - FabioPasian
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