IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (TM41)

*Tuesday August 30 @ 17.00-19:00 CET



DRAFT Agenda T41

  1. Roll Call and Agenda (MA)
  2. FM40 and FM40s (PP)
  3. Review of Actions (MA)
  4. Project Reports - Significant Events Only
  5. TCG status (CA)
  6. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  7. Expiring WG Chairs and vice-Chairs (PP)
  8. CSP status (DDY)
  9. Pune Interop (AK)
  10. Future Interops (All)
  11. Date of next meeting
  12. AOB
  13. Summary of Actions (MA)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA






A proposal submitted to the NSF China to develop Astronomical Data Manager (ADM, previously named FITS Manager) by the China-VO team was failed. However, the development work will be continued as planned. Other two proposals submitted by China-VO partners failed too.

A small piece of funding under the name of Chinese Astronomical Data Center is very promising to be approved in the second half of the year.

WWT Teachers Training 2011 was held successfully in Inner-Mongolia from July 22 to 26. About 30 teachers from primary and secondary schools attended the workshop. Through introducing the WWT to these teachers, we hope to guide them to design scientific data based curriculums.





France VO


Effective July 1, 2011, GAVO has been granted a new three-year funding period with a total funding of about 5 FTE (among Heidelberg, Tuebingen, Potsdam and Munich). We are in the process of hiring additional new staff, envisioned starting date is October 1. The new GAVO members will, among other things, work on a relational representation of the registry and take up Splat development again.

GAVO Datacenter operation has continued; since we now have some spectra to publish, quite a bit of development on SSAP and generation of Spectral Data Model compliant VOTables. Chapeau to France VO for their new service validators. There's a new TAPRegExt WD that all operators of TAP services are encouraged to try.

On September 19 - 23, 2011, the annual meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft will take place in Heidelberg. In addition to one splinter meeting dedicated to VO (Tuesday, mostly talks), we will offer three hands-on meetings (particularly) for young scientists to get acquainted with VO tools like Aladin, TOPCAT and TAP/ADQL (Wednesday to Friday).




The period 1 April-30 June 2011 was a time of intense development activity in the VAO. Good progress was made in the Product Development area, with preliminary releases of the Data Discovery Portal and Spectral Energy Distribution tools. Our external releases will occur on or very close to the schedules originally proposed in the Project Execution Plan (PEP). We demonstrated all new products, including the more research-oriented support tools, for the VAO Science Council at their meeting the last week of July.

The VAO operations infrastructure continues to expand and become more robust. The JIRA ticket tracking system is now in routine use for all operations and software problem reports. We are steadily improving service up-time and service validation. Usage of VAO data services is running at a steady rate of 200,000-250,000 requests per week, with a peak at more than 300,000 requests per week in mid-March.

Our testing environment, which is based on the Jenkins continuous build/test system, has been fully deployed on a dedicated server and is being used in the testing of VAO software products. The VAO document repository was set up and is now in regular use. The VAO Web site is being used regularly, averaging around 35,000 hits per month in this quarter. A VAO user forum is being set up and should be ready for deployment in the next quarter, coinciding with the public release of the new science products.

VAO team members participated in the May IVOA Interoperability workshop in Naples, Italy. G. Graham (Caltech) was appointed as the new Chair of the VOEvent Working Group and O. Laurino (SAO) was appointed as the new Vice-Chair of the Data Models Working Group. M. Graham concluded his term as Chair of the Grid and Web Services Working Group, R. Seaman (NOAO) concluded his term as Chair of the VOEvent Working Group, and T. McGlynn (HEASARC) concluded his term as Chair of the Applications Working Group. Major progress was made on the IVOA standards for spectral energy distributions, photometry, and time series. Shortly after the meeting the IVOA Executive approved the VOEvent V2.0 standard and VOSpace V2.0 and is proceeding toward Proposed Recommendation. The first ever session on the VO and education was held with a very strong level of participation.

We are evaluating the use of remotely hosted computational services (cloud computing) for applications and services that are generic to the VAO and are most easily configured outside any particular VAO organization's site (e.g., owing to account access restrictions, security policies, etc.). Other ongoing studies include the use of GPUs for VAO services and the ability to scale VO transient event notice services to the level needed to support projects like LSST.

In April, B. Lawton (STScI) joined the VAO as the lead of the Education and Public Outreach work area. Lawton was most recently a post-doctoral research fellow at STScI and comes to us with experience and intense interest in education and sharing the excitement of astronomical research with the broader community. Lawton organized a VAO EPO workshop at STScI during which various EPO-oriented tools were demonstrated and evaluated as VAO outreach vehicles. The VAO will participate in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference in Baltimore (30 July-3 August).

D. De Young (NOAO), the VAO Project Scientist, announced his desire to step down no later than 1 October 2011. An open recruitment for a replacement was organized and a number of applications were received. Dr. J. Lazio (JPL) accepted the appointment as the new Project Scientist in late July.

The VAO Director, Program Manager, and Project Scientist responded to questions at the NSF/NASA Panel Review held on 29 April. A response was submitted to NSF/NASA on 23 August. The Project Execution Plan for Year 2 will be submitted to NSF and NASA by 1 September.




The INAF funding for VObs.it for 2011 was delivered late (May) but was slightly increased, thus allowing to keep the level of staffing involved in VO activities. VObs.it, together with INAF and the University of Naples “Federico II”, supported the May Interop held in Naples.

VObs.it keeps active in the following areas: 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; preparing tools for access to the VO for educational/ outreach purposes. Development efforts have focussed on VO-Dance, a tool designed to allow users and data centers to create easily VO compliant services (Cone Search, SIAP, SSAP) on the fly starting only with a database table or view, without writing any code.

The educational/outreach system built by VObs.it, to be used by students, teachers and amateurs with VO data, has been upgraded to include Sun and Solar System use cases. VObs.it staff are supporting the VO School in Kerala, India.

The User Committee of the ASI Science Data Centre (ASDC) has issued a set of recommendations for a better integration of the centre (mainly data from high-energy space missions) within the international VO, and for ASDC participation in VObs.it.

At the IVOA level, VObs.it staff are preparing Terms of Reference for two perspective Liaison Groups: “Education and Outreach” (M.Ramella), and “IVOA-OGF” (F.Pasian).


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

Applications WG

SAMP v1.3, which adds the Web Profile (capability for web applications to participate in SAMP communications) is advancing. A revised Working Draft (WD-SAMP-1.3-20110728) informed by discussions in Naples and a small amount of mailing list discussion, was posted in July. Some open questions about best practice for security remain, but it was agreed to continue to explore these in implementations rather than at the level of the standard itself.

Two full implementations of the new functionality exist, along with fairly comprehensive validation tools. There do not appear to be outstanding concerns within the SAMP community about the current version of the document. The plan is therefore to promote this to PR very soon, so that the RFC period will conclude around the time of the Pune Interop. We hope to reach REC status near the end of 2011.

Apps has requested three sessions at the Pune Interop. There will be time for discussion of the SAMP standard if required, but the sessions are mostly intended for general presentation and discussion of applications.

Data Access Layer WG

Data Models WG

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Registry WG

Semantics/UCD WG


VOTable WG

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Knowledge Discovery in Databases IG

Theory IG

The IG activities have been slightly slowed down due to others typical summer activities (e.g. holidays). Anyway,

  • SimDM proposal documents have been updated according to decisions, changes and improvements made during the Naples meeting
  • Vocabularies are almost ready to be distributed within the community for comments and additional proposals
  • SimDAL proposal writing has been restarted

For the next INTEROP, two sessions will be dedicated to the Access Layer and Registry issues for simulated and computed data.

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