IVOA Theory

Update 2023-09-20

These pages are quite out of date!

They will be updated and edited over the next couple of months with new activity from the Theory Interest Group. Stay tuned for more!

Ongoing activities

Works done by the Theory I.G. are divided in three packages.

Simulation Access Protocol

Most efforts are now done on the definition of an access protocol to access theoretical data through the Virtual Observatory.

Some use cases relevant to theoretical spectra are already taken into account in the Simple Spectral Access Protocol.

SimDAL the access protocol for theoretical data, will cover more use cases.


SimDAL roadmap to converge to a PR has been precised during the Paris 2014 meeting.

Simulation Data Model

The Simulation Data Model 1.0 has been recommended by EXEC on May 3rd 2012.

  • The recommendation can be found here
  • The implementation note is here
Activities on this package are now dormant.

SKOS vocabularies

SKOS concepts are used in the Simulation Data Model to describe quantities and the algorithm in use in simulation. The development of these vocabularies (physical quantities, algorithms, input parameters, output parameters ...) is an ongoing process. Some of these vocabularies are accessible on Theory SKOS concepts website.

  • Description: Concepts in this vocabulary are intended to be used to describe algorithms in SimDM classes.
  • Authors: Nicolas Moreau, Zakaria Meliani, Fabrice Roy, Franck Le Petit, David Languignon
  • The SKOS version has been produced by Nicolas Moreau


During the IVOA executive meeting of Jan. 2004 in Garching, Germany, the IVOA Theory Interest Group was formed with the goal of ensuring that theoretical data and services are taken into account in the IVOA standards process. In a whitepaper published on the IVOA site issues specific to theory are discussed. The document also summarizes tasks that a possible theory working group should accomplish, listed here as a proposed charter for the group.

The IVOA Theory Interest Group will:

  • Provide a forum for discussing theory specific issues in a VO context.
  • Contribute to other IVOA working groups to ensure that theory specific requirements are included.
  • Incorporate standard approaches defined in these groups when designing and implementing services on theoretical archives.
  • Define standard services relevant for theoretical archives.
  • Promote development of services for comparing theoretical results to observations and vice versa.
  • Define relevant milestones and assign specific tasks to interested parties.
After Victoria May-2010 Interop, we refer as simulation to any kind of theoretical data/archive/result that can be used in the VO.

This Interest Group is chaired by Franck Le Petit, vice-chair is Rick Wagner.

Project Pages

Protocols to access simulations

In the following we refer these protocols generically as Simulatuion Data Access Layer (SimDAL). Currentlly there are two types of SimDAL flavors (depending on its IVOA status)

  • TIG developments: Current developments try to converge to a possible common access protocol (that should include TSAP at the end). Current working protocols are:

Broad Topic Discussions Main Contact (if any)
S3 Simple Self-described Service protocol   C. Rodrigo
SimDAL   F. LePetit et al.


The Simulation Data Model largely relies on concepts. These concepts are organized in SKOS vocabularies following the Semantic Working Group recommendations. Semantic vocabulary needed to find/define different kinds of theoretical data

Simulation Data Base

SimDB developments (structure table in progress)

Broad Topic Details (WG-related) Discussions Goal Main Contact (if any)
IVOATheorySimDB Entry page for SimDB developments G. Lemson
  IVOATheorySimDBDM Details of Simulation Data Model  
  IVOATheorySimDBDMDiscussion Discussions on the Simulation DM  
  IVOATheorySimDBDMReview Review of the Simulation DM  
  IVOATheorySimDBTAP Details on TAP implementation  
  IVOATheorySimDBRegistry Relations with Registry  
  etc. ... ...

Simulation Data Model (dormant)

General data model for describing simulations. The version 1.0 has been recommended on May 3rd 2012.

Most results of this effort can now be found in the volute SVN repository on GoogleCode, originally set up by Norman Gray.

All comments received during the various RFC periods for the version 1.0 can be found http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/IVOATheorySimDMspec

SimDM/DM : all the documents for the specification during the preparation are there but please look at http://ivoa.net/Documents/SimDM/ for the last and recommended version.

Historical Follow-up

Theory Group Meetings

Follow these links to the Theory IG meetings - especially those at the IVOA Inter Op meetings. Here you will find the presentations made at those particular events.

Theory IG Session At Meeting When Comments
IVOA.InterOpMay2014Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2014 May 2014 ESAC
IVOA.InterOpSep2013DAL IVOA.InterOpSep2013 Sep 2013 Hawaii
IVOA.InterOpMay2013Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2013 May 2013 Heidelberg
IVOA.InterOpMay2012Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2012 May 2012 Urbana
IVOA.InterOpOct2011Theory IVOA.InterOpOct2011 Oct 2011 Poona
IVOA.InterOpMay2011Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2011 May 2011 Naples
IVOA.InterOpDec2010Theory IVOA.InterOpDec2010 Dec 2010 Nara
SimDx Workshop, Strasbourg Theory-IG meeting Sep 2010 Strasbourg
IVOA.InterOpMay2010Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2010 May 2010 Victoria
IVOA.InterOpNov2009Theory IVOA.InterOpNov2009 Nov 2009 Garching
IVOA.InterOpMay2009Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2009 May 2009 Strasbourg
IVOA.InterOpOct2008Theory IVOA.InterOpOct2008 Oct 2008 Baltimore
IVOA.InterOpMay2008Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2008 May 2008 Trieste
IVOA.InterOpSep2007Theory IVOA.InterOpSep2007 Sep 2007 Cambridge, UK
IVOA.InterOpMay2007Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2007 May 2007 Beijing
SNAP Workshop, Garching Theory-IG meeting Apr 2007 Garching, Germany
IVOA.InterOpMay2006Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2006 May 2006 Victoria
Cambridge Theory Workshop Theory-IG meeting Feb 2006 Cambridge, UK
IVOA.InterOpOct2005Theory IVOA.InterOpOct2005 Oct 2005 Spain
InterOpMay2005Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2005 May 2005 Kyoto
InterOpSep2004Theory IVOA.InterOpSep2004 Sep 2004 Pune
InterOpMay2004Theory IVOA.InterOpMay2004 May 2004 CfA, Boston: Kick off meeting


Gerard Lemson
Claudio Gheller
Laurie Shaw
Nicholas Walton
Jörg Colberg
Peter Teuben
Herve Wozniak
Miguel Cerviño
David Languignon
Franck Le Petit
Carlos Rodrigo
Patrizia Manzato
Marco Molinaro

National contacts

Following the IVOA interoperability meeting in Cambridge, MA, USA May 2004, the various national VO's have assigned one or two contact persons for dealing with theory issues, representing the theory interest group to their community and vice versa, representing their community to the theory interest group. The following is the current list of these contact persons with their affiliation and e-mail addresses:

VO Contact name Contact email
AstroGrid Nicholas Walton naw@ast.cam.ac.uk
Autralia VO Sarah Maddison smaddison@swin.edu.au
INAF-Italy Ugo Becciani ube@ct.astro.it
France-VO Hervé Wozniak herve.wozniak@astro.unistra.fr
GAVO Gerard Lemson gerard.lemson@mpe.mpg.de
JVO Dr. Matumoto matumoto@astro.s.chiba-u.ac.jp
Dr. Kokubo kokubo@th.nao.ac.jp
Korean VO Jongsoo Kim jskim@kao.re.kr
RVO Leonid A. Kalinichenko leonidk@synth.ipi.ac.ru
SVO Carlos Rodrigo crb@cab.inta-csic.es


This section aims to provide a poor-man's registry containing links to VO-like efforts in the field of theory. The format of the table is preliminary. Country may not be important, contacts should be added or confirmed.

Resource Country Contact
Aus-VO-Wiki.Theory Australia  
Cosmo.Lab Italy  
GalICS France  
Model of stellar population synthesis of the Galaxy France  
HORIZON France  
Peter Teuben's TVO page USA Peter Teuben
The Art of Computational Science   Piet Hut and Jun Makino
MPA Virgo data download Germany  
Virtual Cluster Exploratory USA Gus Evrard
ITVO@Trieste Italy Patrizia Manzato
ITVO@Catania Italy Ugo Becciani
BaSTI Italy Patrizia Manzato  


Title/link Author(s) Meeting Comment
EuroVO DCA Theory white paper IVOA.GerardLemson and IVOA.HerveWozniak and IVOA.JoergColberg    
Theory_in_the_VO_whitepaper.pdf IVOA.GerardLemson and IVOA.JoergColberg    
derriere-boston04.pdf IVOA.SebastienDerriere InterOpMay2004  
walton-boston04.pdf IVOA.NicholasWalton InterOpMay2004  
france-theory.pdf IVOA.FrancoiseGenova InterOpMay2004  
shaw-1-boston04.pdf IVOA.LaurieShaw InterOpMay2004  
mcglynn-boston04.ppt IVOA.TomMcGlynn InterOpMay2004  
mcdowell-boston04.zip IVOA.JonathanMcDowell InterOpMay2004  
shaw-simulationDM.pdf IVOA.LaurieShaw   [SIMULATION] Data Model Draft V0.1
shaw-UCDproposal.pdf IVOA.LaurieShaw   UCDs for simulations
Simulation.v.0.2.pdf IVOA.LaurieShaw   [SIMULATION] Data Model Draft V0.2
N body Simulations Globular Clusters Dave De Young InterOpOct2005  
Comparison Evolutionary Synthesis Modes Enrique Solano InterOpOct2005  
Virtual Telescope and Theory roadmap Gerard Lemson InterOpOct2005  
S3: Proposal for a simple protocol to handle theoretical data (microsimulations) Carlos Rodrigo Blanco   IVOA Note, Oct 2008
Theory in the VO Euro-VO DCA Theory Expert Group   EuroVO-DCA whitepaper, Dec 2008


  • General working-group discussion archive.

Use cases

During the interoperability meeting in Kyoto, 2005, it was decided that science use cases will be defined by a various members of the theory group. These were to be posted and used to extract requirements for the various IVOA working groups. A link to a page listing the submitted workpages can be accessed here.

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
PDFpdf EuroVO-DCA-D11-MPG-Final.pdf r1 manage 1085.1 K 2016-05-02 - 10:46 FranckLePetit  
PDFpdf EuroVO-DCA_D11_MPG_Final.pdf r1 manage 1085.1 K 2015-09-07 - 09:24 FranckLePetit  
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Topic revision: r109 - 2023-09-19 - SimonOToole
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