IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM44 & FM44S)

Sunday May 20 @ 16.00

Supplementary Meeting: Wednesday May 23 @ 12.30-14.00

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NCSA building, Board room, Urbana, USA

Agenda FM44

  1. Roll Call and Agenda (MA)
  2. Minutes of TM43
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Project Reports - Significant Events Only
  5. Report of the TCG status (CA)
  6. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  7. state of the IVOA
Supplementary Meeting
  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Future Interops (All)
  3. TCG Chair and vice chair
  4. WG Chairs and vice-Chairs with expiring terms
  5. Lists of Data Centres (MA)
  6. Newsletter editors and oversight group renewals
  7. Date of next telecon meeting
  8. AOB
  9. Summary of Actions (MA)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA

NOVA is working in building up data bases of the digital data and organizing the steps to follow to digitize the historical data which involved more than 30000 spectra and photometric plates distributing in at least three different institutions. Funds has been secured to hire a technical coordinator. Some equipment is also being acquired to store databases. NOVA is organizing a mini-workshop to bring VO closer to the researchers and motivate them to make their data public in NOVA. We are making an effort to coordinate this workshop with the Interop in Brasil. Alternatively it could take place during the first semester of 2013. Finally decision will be make upon conformation of funds.



There is no coherent funded UK project, but considerable activity continues, through EuroVO, through VAMDC, through a Topcat-specific grant, and through data centre activity in Edinburgh, Manchester, Cambridge and MSSL related to UKIDSS, VISTA, GAIA, eMERLIN, ALMA, SDO, and planning for SKA and Euclid. The AstroGrid registry has been relocated to Edinburgh and continues to be maintained.


Since the Australia-VO lacks any substantial public funding all activities are on a purely voluntary basis and are almost always driven and funded by specific project needs. Nevertheless all of the major survey projects in Australia are actively working in the direction of making their data available through standard VO interfaces. Recently a number of new services have been published by the ANU Supercomputing Facility. Other services are under development for Skymapper, ASKAP, MWA and ATLAS data. The latter activity will be supported by federal funding through Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL) and is regarded as an exemplar for the other major surveys, in particular the EMU and Wallaby surveys to be carried out with ASKAP. Expectations from most of these projects are pretty high with regard to what the VO can or should provide and the IVOA should very carefully listen to the specific requirements of such projects in general.

AAL also took over the ownership of the various Australia-VO domain names. Discussions are under way to move the current host of the domain under AAL as well. Once this has been established the site will be re-vamped and updated.



New version of Chinese astronomical data center website is released (http://casdc.china-vo.org). In the release, several IVOA standards are supported including VOTable, TAP, SAMP, cone search, etc. New features include user personal space, list query, asynchronous query.

Bootes-4 is in commission. The opening ceremony of the Bootes-4 was held at Gaomeigu station, Yunnan Astronomical Observatory on March 20, 2012. Several GRB alerts have been followed up. A VO-compliant pipeline is under seriously consideration.

Chinese astronomical plate digitalization project was approved. On May 11, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China announced the approving of a series of projects including the astronomical plate digitalization project. About 30,000 plates collected during the last century will be scanned. Data archiving, management, access services will be provided by the China-VO.

WWT teacher training was held in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uigur autonomous region in April. About 60 teachers from primary and middle schools across the region attended the training. It is the first time for most of them to hear of the WWT and Internet based education.


The TAP service operated by CADC hosts most of the archive data at CADC through the Common Archive Observation Model (CAOM-1.0). We have been working with the CyberSKA project to ingest radio datasets (measurement sets and datacubes) into CAOM. In parallel, we have completed the design of and are implementing CAOM-2.0 (see http://www.cadc.hia.nrc.gc.ca/caom2); we have started data engineering efforts to migrate all collections to this new version of the data model.

In addition, the TAP services host catalogues for the CFHT Legacy Survey (~10 tables with ~100M sources). We also host proprietary project-specific catalogues which are accessible through the TAP service to users that authenticate and are authorised (via membershp in the project group) to view the tables. The software to support proprietary access to individual tables and columns is part of the cadcTAP component in the OpenCADC project at http://opencadc.googlecode.com/. In the near future, we will be implementing support for the output of asynchronous queries to be streamed directly to the user's VOSpace.

The CVO publishing registry is now running and we will be arranging to take over the curation of holdings under the ivo://cadc.nrc.ca authority as soon as possible.

We continue to work closely with the High Energy Physics (HEP) group at UVic to provide cloud computing services to astronomers. Astronomers maintain their own VMs (stored in and provisioned from VOSpace). The user's custom processing uses VOSpace to store intermediate and final results and uses IVOA SSO (X509 certificates) for all authentication.

Over the past few months, we have worked to make our VOSpace-2.0 implementation much more robust and scalable to support cloud processing (the heaviest use). Even under partial occupation of available clould resources (200-300 VMs running, ~700 is the current maximum), provisoning VMs and support I/O from the cloud amounts to ~25 million hits on the VOspace service per day (mostly just viewing node metadata). We are seeing sustained traffic of 10-15 files per second being put into VOSpace.


The European EuroVO-ICE project (International Cooperation Empowerment), originally planned for one year starting on 1 September 2010, has been extended to an additional year and will end on 31 August 2012. This small project (215 keuros) has allowed European VO projects to continue to coordinate their activities, including a Technology Forum on 9-10 May 2012 to discuss technical activities.

A project called CoSADIE (Collaborative and Sustainable Astronomical Data Infrastructure for Europe) is in negotiation with the European Commission. 2 years, 5 partners (CNRS, INAF, INTA, UEDIN, UHEI), 475 keuros, aiming at

  • defining concrete elements and coordination structures to prepare for a sustainable Euro-VO, in close collaboration with Astronet, inlcuding discussions with the funding agencies. Astronet gathers a group of European funding agencies and builds up a comprehensive long-term planning for the development of European astronomy.
  • continuing European coordination, dissemination of the VO knowledge in the European astronomer and data centre communities, and consolidation of education activities.
The work programme includes a Hands-on school and a Data Centre Forum. EC final decision about the project should be known by this summer, and the project aims to start on September 1st, 2012.

Collaboration with European projects which define a generic infrastructure for scientific data is also planned, in an international context.


France VO

Summary report of France VO activities Oct. 2011-Oct. 2012 in IvoaExecMeetingFM46


We now have a first version of a "relational registry", a TAP-searchable set of (right now) 14 tables that contain almost all information of the VO Registry; we've put together a document showing how to use this and an OAI-PMH endpoint to solve the use cases that have been collected for a new, "RESTful" Registry interface (except for those for which Registry information is not sufficient).

We've also published the GUMS-10 dataset within our TAP service, which is a simulation of the GAIA result set, as well as various spectra collections and miscellaneous other data (HII region temperatures, neutrino detections).

In standards, we worked with Petr Skoda to come up with extensions to SSA that would make the standard more useful for certain use cases (cutouts, server-side normalization, object name searches), and we did further work on TAP evolution with an attempt to expose query plans to users.



Japan-VO team has been collaborating with the ALMA Regional Center East-Asia (ARC E/A). We have completed to add to the JVO portal a new page for distributing the ALMA Science Verification data. We are also working in developing a prototype of data-cube query system and associated data-cube viewer. Since expected data size from ALMA is so large, the query system is capable to show "binned data" (both in spatial and temporal axes) for users to easily find desired data.

We also added some new data taken from the Subaru telescope: MIRCS (Mid-Infrared data) and HDS (High Dispersion Spectrograph), and others.

A VO tutorial was held in the end of March; immediately after the call for participation the capacity of the tutorial was filled. The participants asked us to hold such tutorials more frequently, and we plan to do so.

Ukraine VO


During the course of the past year the VAO has completed essentially all of its planned activities, bringing a number of new research tools and capabilities to the community and establishing a rigorous operational environment. The new re-search tools have been introduced to the community via presentations and exhibits at AAS meetings, international conferences, and through an ongoing series of VO Community Days. Use of VAO tools and services, initially somewhat stagnant owing to a two-year funding hiatus for the US VO program, is now accelerating. Indeed, much of the data being used in the astronomy community is being accessed through VO standard services, even though astronomers are generally unaware that this is the case.

A program of science collaborations with the research community has led to new science products and greater availability of astronomical data to the community at large. Proposals from the community for additional collaborations were solicited in an open call in January 2012, and we expect to start several new collaborations later this spring.

During the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 the VAO project, in response to redirection from NSF and NASA, downsized and reorganized. Seven original work areas were reduced to four and resources were reapportioned in accord with agency guidance to focus on infrastructure. These four work areas are Operations, User Support, Science Applications, and Standards and Infrastructure. Efforts in the areas of technology evaluation and data curation and preservation have been integrated into Standards and Infrastructure. The VAO’s education and public outreach program has been terminated, in accord with agency direction, with only close-out work proceeding to assure that prior efforts can be resumed should resources be found to continue this program.

More details are available at http://www.usvao.org/documents/Reports/Annual/VAO-AR-April2012.pdf.



(Since February 2012)

Manpower: 10 FTEs. The SVO Thematic Network (people from Spanish institutes with interest in the VO) is composed of almost 200 participants from more than 30 labs.

VO Archives:

- Presentation on the archive design of HEXA, a 6.5m telescope proposed for the Calar Alto Observatory (http://riastronomia.es/opencms/opencms/Workshops/R_20111205.html)

- Presentation on the SVO contribution to the Gaia mission: https://gaia.am.ub.es/Twiki/pub/RecGaia/RiaICTS/Gaia+ICTS_Solano.pdf

VO Data Models:

- Building a VO-compliant Radio Astronomical DAta Model for Single-dish radio telescopes (RADAMS) (Santander-Vela, J. D.; García, E.; Leon, S.; Espigares, V.; Ruiz, J. E.; Verdes-Montenegro, L.; Solano, E.). Accepted by Experimental Astronomy. (2012arXiv1205.2562S)

VO Science:

- New ultracool subdwarfs identified in large-scale surveys using Virtual Observatory tools: Part I: UKIDSS LAS DR5 vs SDSS DR7 (Lodieu, N.; Espinoza Contreras, M.; Zapatero Osorio, M. R.; Solano, E.; Aberasturi, M.; Martín, E. L.). Accepted by Astronomy and Astrophysics. (2012arXiv1204.4328L)


- The citizen-science project "Identification of Near Earth Asteroids using VO tools" (http://www.laeff.cab.inta-csic.es/projects/near/main/?&newlang=eng) described in the Galileo Teacher Training Project Newsletters (http://www.site.galileoteachers.org/images/stories/newsletter/gttp_ghou_newsletter_3_low.pdf).

- The same project described in a national newspaper (http://www.publico.es/ciencias/421844/los-cerebros-de-la-ciencia-estan-en-la-nube)


- VO course (30 hours) in the Master of Advanced Techniques in Physics of the Granada University (http://www.ugr.es/~mtaf/inicio_eng.htm)


The VObs.it budget was approved, but due to the INAF re-organisation, is not available yet. Salaries for people under contract are guaranteed until the end of the year. Staffing can be estimated around 5 FTE.

A “VO publishing workshop” (Trieste, 27-29 Feb), mostly hands-on, was attended by about 30 people.

A letter of agreement between the main Italian data centres for astrophysics (ASDC and IA2) for joint activities to be carried out within the VObs.it framework has been agreed upon and is waiting for endorsement by the INAF-ASI coordination committee.

VO-Dance, a tool designed to allow users and data centers to easily create VO compliant services (Cone Search, SIAP, SSAP, TAP) on the fly has been released and will be presented at the May IVOA Interop and at the SPIE Conference in July.

VO compliance is being pursued within major projects (Euclid, CTA) and, through inclusion of data within the IA2 facilities, also for minor projects (REM, PESSTO) and local observatory archives (e.g. OAPD-Ekar).

VObs.it keeps also active in the following areas: implementing embedded access to the grid as part of data centre services (OGF35 will be supported); developing VO-aware data mining tools; developing VO and grid-enabled 3-D visualisation tools; preparing tools for access to the VO for educational/ outreach purposes.


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

Applications WG

SAMP 1.3 was accepted as REC in April. Thanks to all for making this a smooth process.

Given the current dormant status of the VOTable Working Group, Apps WG is for now overseeing the discussion of possible changes to the VOTable standard, and a 1/2 plenary session has been scheduled at Urbana for this.

VO-related applications from various projects will be showcased during the Apps sessions as usual.

Data Access Layer WG

Latest PR-TAPRegExt-1.0 issued on May 8, RFC and TCG review completed.

Latest WD-DALI-1.0 was issued on February 2; issues will be discussed during interop.

An early DataLink WD has been produced; prototypes will be discussed during the interop.

No work is underway on PQL.

Data Models WG

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Registry WG

Semantics/UCD WG


VOEvent 2.0 has been taken up by several event providers, most notable GCN, which is now sending out around 60000 event per month. Some providers have also started digitally signing their events. Given this we intend to promote the IVOA Note on event transport to a full-blown standard. We have also been working on the VOEvent Registry Extension.

VOTable WG

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Knowledge Discovery in Databases IG

Theory IG

SimDM 1.0 has been recommended on May 3rd. Now efforts concertrate on providing an access protocol. An mid-interop meeting has been held in Paris on March 13-14 to address technical issues. Theory session and the common DAL/Registry/Theory session in Urbana interop will be focused on SimDAL.

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Topic revision: r28 - 2012-10-18 - FrancoiseGenova
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