Category Archives: presentations

Software events at AAS 229, Grapevine

And here it is: the Big List o’ Software Stuff at next month’s AAS meeting. If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments below; thanks!

Introduction to Software Carpentry, 8:00 am ‐ 5:30 pm, Appaloosa 1
Using Python for Astronomical Data Analysis, 8:30 am ‐ 5:00 pm, Texas C

Splinter meeting: Flexible Multi‐dimensional Modeling of Complex Data in Astronomy, 9:30 am ‐ 11:30 am, Grapevine 4

Poster presentations
146.04 Gemini Planet Imager Calibrations, Pipeline Updates, and Campaign Data Process
146.07 Reprocessing of Archival Direct Imaging Data of Herbig Ae/Be Stars
146.13 Finding Planets in K2: A New Method of Cleaning the Data
146.17. Searching for Wide, Planetary-Mass Companions in Archival Spitzer/IRAC Data
154.25 Automated Detection of Dwarf Galaxies and Star Clusters in SMASH through the NOAO Data Lab
154.27 On the Quantification of Incertitude in Astrophysical Simulation Codes
155.13 Spectro-spatial reconstruction of Wide Field Imaging Interferometry Testbed (WIIT) data

Oral presentations
Testing SMBH scaling relations using cosmological simulations and optical/near-IR imaging data, 10:00 am – 10:20 am, Grapevine C
An Empirical Examination of the NEOWISE Results and Data analysis, 10:50 am – 11:00 am, Texas 4
Data Simulation for 21 cm Cosmology Experiments, 2:40 pm – 2:50 pm, Grapevine C

Poster presentations
Session 236: Computation, Data Handling, Image Analysis & Light Pollution (21 posters)

239.03, The era of synoptic galactic archeology: using HST and Chandra observations to constrain the evolution of elliptical galaxies through the spatial distribution of globular clusters and X-ray binaries
244.05, Three-Dimensional Simulations of the Convective Urca Process in Pre-Supernova White Dwarfs

Oral presentations
Mind the Gap when Data Mining the Ritter-Kolb Cataclysmic Variable Catalogue, 10:00 am – 10:10 am, Fort Worth 6
What drives the kinematic evolution of star-forming galaxies? 10:20 am – 10:30 am, Grapevine 2
Simulating Galactic Winds on Supercomputers, 2:50 pm – 3:10 pm, Grapevine A
Photometric Redshifts for High Resolution Radio Galaxies in the SuperCLASS Field, 3:10 pm – 3:20 PM, Grapevine A

Special Session: Perspectives in Research Software: Education, Funding, Reproducibility, Citation, and Impact, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Grapevine 2

Poster presentations
335.05, When Will It Be …?: U.S. Naval Observatory Religious Calendar Computers Expanded
336.09, Variable Stars as an Introduction to Computational Research
345.03, An ALMA Survey of Planet Forming Disks in Rho Ophiuchus
345.19, Chemistry of protostellar envelopes and disks: computational testing of 2D abundances
348.06, Computing Architecture for the ngVLA

Oral presentations
K2 red giant asteroseismology using Bayesian Asteroseismology data Modeling (BAM), 10:24 am – 10:36 am, Grapevine B
Upgrades to MINERVA control software, 2:00 pm – 2:10 pm, Texas D

Special Session: Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy (ASTRO): SAMSI 2016-17, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Grapevine 2

Workshop: Hack Together Day, 10:00 am ‐ 7:00 pm, Grapevine 4 (Info and registration)

Also of likely interest is the Special Session on The Value of Astronomical Data and Long Term Preservation that will take place on Thursday, 4 January from 10:00 am – 11:30 am in Texas 3.


ADASS BoF: Implementing Ideas for Improving Software Citation and Credit

On Tuesday at ADASS, ASCL Advisory Committee Chair Peter Teuben led a Birds of a Feather session intended as a working session to have people put some of the ideas for improving software citation and credit into practice.

ADS now has a doc type called software

Slide from Peter’s opening presentation

He opened the session with a few remarks about last year’s BoF, similar efforts elsewhere, and examples of progress since last year. Yes, there has been progress! He then showed a list of actionable items and asked people to work on them, adding their work to a common Google doc. His slides are here.

And they did! It was the quietest BoF ever, I believe, as Keith Shortridge, Bruce Berriman, and Jessica Mink wrote about their experiences in releasing software; Renato Callado Borges and Greg Sleap provided guidance on the types of software contributions that add value to science; Alberto Accomazzi, Nuria Lorente, and Kai Polsterer listed ways one can publish and take credit for software; Peter Teuben, Steven Crawford, and possibly others pulled together a list of organization web pages about software created at the institutions, this as a way to highlight and recognize scientific software contributions; Maurizio Tomasi added a suggestion for gathering licensing information; and Thomas Robitaille, Ole Streicher, Tim Jenness, Kimberly DuPrie, and I discussed exactly what should be in the “Preferred citation field” of the ASCL and various people listed about a dozen preferred citations to be added to the ASCL and others used the Suggest a change or addition link for several software packages to provide preferred citation information.

Though Peter had asked that people work for about 30 minutes, he monitored contributions to the Google doc and saw work was still being done so did not call us back together until only 15 minutes or so were left in the session. Instead of having people report back on what they had done as originally plan, he asked for other feedback instead, as progress made was evident in the shared document, and after a bit of discussion on licensing and a few other comments, closed the session.

Though the session is over, the next phase is to put this information to use or disseminate it in some way so it can do some good and be the changes we want to see for software!


ADASS XXVI poster: Decoupling the Archive

Decoupling the archive posterThe James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) archive will store numerous metadata for the various files that it contains: at the time of this writing a single FITS file can have up to 250 different metadata fields in the archive, most of which map to keywords in the primary header or header extensions. One of the goals of the archive design is to allow for changes to the fields stored in the database without having to change the ingest code. We have found this to be very helpful during the code development phase of the mission when the FITS file definitions are frequently changing. We also anticipate it will be advantageous during the lifetime of the mission as changes to processing will likely result in changes to the keywords but should not require changes to the ingest code. This poster describes the methods we use to decouple the archive from the ingest process.

Kimberly DuPrie, Space Telescope Science Institute
Lisa Gardner, Space Telescope Science Institute
Michael Gough, Space Telescope Science Institute
Richard C. Kidwell Jr., Space Telescope Science Institute

Montage poster at ADASS 2016

We want to share some of the posters that are appearing at ADASS this week (with permission of their authors). Montage is in the ASCL; we love this poster for several reasons, but especially because it makes clear that sustainability of the software is important!
Image of paper on the software Montagle

Abstract: The Montage toolkit is finding exceptional breadth of usage, far beyond its intended application as a mosaic engine for astronomy. New uses include:
– Visualization of complex images with data overlays: e.g. as a re-projection engine integrated into the server-side architecture of a Gbit visualization system supporting investigations of 3D printing with the X3D protocol creation of sky coverage maps for missions and projects bulk creation of sub-images of multiband photometry data creation of plots in the APLPy library.
– Creation of new data products at scale: mosaics of Gemini AO images from the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System/Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GEMS/GSAOI) instrument, from the VISTA VIDEO and the UKIDSS DXS surveys welding the Herschel infrared Galactic plane (Hi-GAL) far-infrared Survey into a set of large-scale mosaics, for planetarium shows at a digital as well as for research
– As a re-projection engine to support discovery of 86 Near Earth Asteroids (a U.S. congressional mandate) in the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Program (LINEAR).
– Integration into data processing environments: integration of the 4D image cutout tool into the VO-compliant CSIRO ASKAP Science Data Archive (CASDA) as a re-projection engine for the Dark Energy Survey (DES) pipeline.
– Discovery of imaging data at scale: use of memory mapped R-tree indices to support searches for spatially extended data, in use in Spitzer and WISE image searches and in spatial and temporal searches for WISE and KOA.
It has been cited as an exemplar application for development of next generation cyber-infrastructure in 238 papers between 2014 and 2016 to date. What has enabled this broad take-up is that Montage has been built and managed as a scalable toolkit, written in C and portable across all common *nix platforms, with minimal dependencies on third-party software, such that it can be built with a simple “make” command. All the components have proven powerful general-purpose tools in their own right, even those first developed to support mosaic creation, such as discovery of images for input to the engine and for management of mosaics. We describe how Montage is managed to assure that the benefits of the architecture are retained, and how we ensure that new development is driven by the needs of the community.


ASCL poster for ADASS XXVIThe Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL) is a free online registry of codes used in research; it is indexed by ADS and Web of Science and has over 1300 code entries. Its entries are increasingly used to cite software; citations have been at least doubling each year since 2012, and every major astronomy journal accepts citations to the ASCL. Codes in the resource cover all aspects of astrophysics research and many programming languages are represented. In the past year, the ASCL has added dashboards for users and administrators, started minting DOIs for codes it houses, and added metadata fields requested by users. This presentation covers the ASCL’s growth in the past year and the opportunities afforded to it as one of the few domain libraries for science research codes, and will solicit ideas for new features.

Alice Allen, Astrophysics Source Code Library
G. Bruce Berriman, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology
Kimberly DuPrie, Space Telescope Science Institute/ASCL
Jessica Mink, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Robert Nemiroff, Michigan Technological University
Thomas Robitaille, Freelance
Judy Schmidt, Astrophysics Source Code Library
Lior Shamir, Lawrence Technological University
Keith Shortridge, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Mark Taylor, University of Bristol
Peter Teuben, Astronomy Department, University of Maryland
John Wallin, Middle Tennessee State University

Download poster

First look at software activities at AAS 229

Though we have a way to go before January’s AAS meeting (and ADASS and OpenCon on the ASCL’s schedule coming up sooner), a look at the schedule for the AAS meeting already shows multiple options for the computationally-inclined astronomer. I’m very excited about the Special Session we’ve organized with the Moore-Sloan DSE, called Perspectives in Research Software. Bruce Berriman (IPAC, Caltech/Astronomy Computing Today) will moderate the session. In keeping with previous sessions, the session will include a discussion period with the floor open for questions and comments; we want to hear what you have to say. We have a panel of seven speakers; the presenters and topics are:

Tracy Teal (Data Carpentry), Software not as a service
Michael Hucka (Caltech), Finding the right wheel when you don’t want to reinvent it
Lior Shamir (LTU), Reproducibility and reusability of scientific software
Ivelina Momcheva (STScI), Funding research software development
Heather Piwowar (ImpactStory), Capturing the impact of software
David W. Hogg (NYU), The relationships between software publications and software systems
And me, Update on research software citation efforts

I hope to see you there!

Other software events that have shown up so far on the AAS schedule are listed below. Good times coming!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017
Workshop: Introduction to Software Carpentry, 8:00 am ‐ 5:30 pm
Workshop: Using Python for Astronomical Data Analysis, 8:00 am ‐ 4:30 pm

Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Splinter Meeting: Flexible Multi‐dimensional Modeling of Complex Data in Astronomy, 9:30 am ‐ 11:30 am

Friday, 6 January 2017
Special Session: Perspectives in Research Software: Education, Funding, Reproducibility, Citation, and Impact, 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Saturday, 7 January 2017
Special Session: Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy (ASTRO): SAMSI 2016-17, 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Workshop: Hack Together Day, 10:00 am ‐ 7:00 pm

Also of likely interest is the Special Session on The Value of Astronomical Data and Long Term Preservation that will take place on Thursday, 4 January from 10:00 am – 11:30 am.


Upcoming events and sessions, Fall-Winter 2016/7

I’ll be representing the ASCL at next month’s WSSSPE4 meeting in Manchester, and in October, the ASCL will be at ADASS XXVI and will hold an Advisory Committee (AC) meeting while there. Peter Teuben, chair of the ASCL AC, will moderate a Birds of a Feather session at ADASS on Implementing Ideas for Improving Software Citation and Credit; this is a follow-up on the discussion at last year’s BoF Improving Software Citation and Creditwith a goal of taking action on some of the ideas generated at last year’s BoF. Watch this space in October for more!

For January’s American Astronomy Society meeting in Texas, the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environment at NYU and the ASCL have organized another Special Session, Perspectives in Research Software. This will follow the format of previous sessions, with presentations in the first half of the session and discussion open to all for the second half. Bruce Berriman from the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech will moderate; the presenters include Ivelina Momcheva (Space Telescope Science Institute),  Tracy Teal (Data Carpentry), Lior Shamir (Lawrence Technological University), and Michael Hucka (Caltech). I’m rationally exuberant about this session!

Engineering Academic Software, Schloss Dagstuhl Day 3

The day started with a quick discussion about the afternoon; it is traditional for Schloss Dagstuhl seminars that Wednesday afternoons involve a social activity. It was determined on Tuesday that the activity was to be a hike some distance away from Dagstuhl with dinner after in another town, but several changes to these plans had to be ironed out and announced. After a few minutes spent on that, the morning session got underway and was furiously fast! This was an Open Mic, with participants having signed up while here to give short talks (ten minutes or less).

First up was Daniel Garijo on Software Metadata: Describing “dark software” in Geosciences. By “dark software,” he means that which is often hidden from view. He described the current state of the art for software description in geosciences and demonstrated, a semantic registry for scientific software, which currently includes information from several geosciences resources. As Ontosoft is not domain-specific, it has the capacity to expand into other fields as well. This is a very attractive and capable site. It uses a distributed approach to software registries and depends on crowdsourcing for metadata maintenance. The resource organizes software metadata using the OntoSoft ontology along six dimensions: identify software, understand and assess software, execute software, get support for the software, do research with the software, and update the software. Slideshare

Jurgen Vinju was next with Organising a research team around the research software around the research team in software engineering: Motivation, experiences, lessons. He talked about his experiences as the group leader of the SWAT (Software Analysis and Transformation) team at Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica (CWI), the national research institute for math and computer science in the Netherlands. tweet showing image of Jurgen presenting his Open Mic talkSWAT is all about the source code and supporting programmers to create more efficient, maintainable software. They work to understand and control software complexity to enable more and better tools. He made the point that research teams “prioritise for academic output which is not software.” He showed UseTheSource, a resource developed by CWI with contributions from other institutes and housing open-source projects related to software language engineering and metaprogramming. This allows more efficient programming by automating tasks that are cumbersome or hard, and allows synergies between software engineers, researchers, and industry. PDF
Tweet: A research team s not a software team. We have fewer resources. We need more investment in efficiency.

Dan Katz gave an overview of work done by the Force11 Software Citation Working Group; his presentation was titled Software Citation: Principles, Discussion, and Metadata. He provided Tweet: "Check out force 11 for progress in software citation"rationales for citing software, information on the WSSSPE and Force11 groups involved in developing software citation principles and the process used to develop them, and then the six principles, which focus on the importance of software, the need to credit and attribute the contributions software makes to research and to be able to uniquely identify software in a persistent and specific way, and that citations should enable access to the software and associated information about the software that informs its use. Katz brought up many of the discussions the WSSSPE and Force11 working groups had and their determinations, such as what software to cite, how to uniquely identify software, that peer-review of software is important but not required for citation, and how publishers can help.
Tweet: "It's more important to cite the software directly rather than a software paper"Each of the Open Mic sessions generated immediate discussion during the sessions and while the next presenter was setting up, and this session was no exception. When Katz pointed out that a common practice is to publish and cite papers about software (“software papers”), but that the Importance principle of the Force11 Working Group calls for the citation of the software itself, “on the same basis as any other research product”, this was countered with a comment that people should cite software papers if the software authors have requested that method of citation. Katz stated that could be done in addition to citing to the software, as one of his slides stated. The presentation concluded with information on the next steps for the Force11 Software Citation Working Group — to finalize the principles, and publish and circulate them for endorsement — and the likelihood of a Software Citation Implementation Group being formed to work with institutions, researchers, publishers, and other interested parties to put the principles into practice. PDF

Tweet: ""Software advisors are elected. It's a role people create when ask you questions" Katie Kuksenok"The fourth Open Mic talk was by Katerena Kuksenok on Best Practices (by any other name). This interesting talk looked atTweet: "User resistance: “I don’t want to use version control because I don’t want the world to see my terrible code.”" intersections of the technical, social, and cognitive aspects of software engineering in research, and asked how the available community and skill resources could be leveraged. brought together various elements brought up through the workshop so far, including different roles that had been identified, the need for software engineers to learn from scientists just as we hope researchers learn software engineering practices, Tweet: Mike Croucher "is s/w therapist/coach, helping scientists improve code...carefully; doesn't throw computer science at them!"and overcoming communications barriers. She referred back to a comment Mike Croucher had made in his talk on Monday, agreeing that software engineers should “do CS/SE with people not at them!” PowerPoint

After Kuksenok’s talk, I presented Restoring reproducibility: Making scientist software discoverable. This presentation was a quick overview of the ASCL, its history and a few of the changes to our infrastructure, the lessons we learned from Tweet: astrophysics source code library since 1999looking at what other astro code registries and repositories had done and what we did with those lessons, and some of the impact we have on the community. As with every other session, there was intermittent discussion, questions asked and answered, and conversation on the topic as I headed back to my chair and the next speaker set up. PowerPoint PDF

Robert Haines was up next with A Short* History of Research Software Engineers in the UK (*and probably incomplete). Before there were Research Software Engineers (RSE), there were RSEs going by other names, such as Post Doc and Research Assistant. These were the people in the lab who could code, andTweet" "#dagsRobert Haines reports on the coming to life of the job of “Research Software Engineer”, with jobs, a union, etc." fell “foul of publish or perish” because they were writing code rather than papers. RSEs might also have been hiding as those working in high performance computing or as a research group admin. He is an example of someone who has always done RSE work, though was not called an RSE until fairly recently. It was at a Software Sustainability Institute Collaborations Workshop in 2012 that there was a call to arm to recognize the Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 12.34.52 PM contributions of those who write code rather than papers and are not purely researchers. They decided they needed a name, to unionize, and a policy campaign. He described the current environment, both the challenges and the positives, and shared that many people want to work in this field. Yes, discussion broke out in this session, too! It was remarkable how engaged everyone at the workshop was, and how often and easily discussion took place. PDF

Ralf presentingDan Katz made a very brief presentation and instigated more discussion on career paths when Robert Haines was finished, then after a brief coffee break, the morning Open Mic session continued with Ralf Lämmel‘s presentation intriguingly called Making a failing project succeed?! about the 101Companies project. He called 101Companies a software chrestomathyfrom chresto, meaning “useful” and mathein, meaning “to learn.” He shared other chrestomathies, such as the Hello World Collection and the Evolution of a Haskell programmer. (One of the previous links will lead you to a song about a popular beverage.) 101Companies is a resource for learning Tweet: "101 is a knowledge resource for technological space travel (between all kinds of online spaces)"more about software, for comparing technologies, for programming education, and can serve as “a playground for student projects.” He discussed some of the challenges the project is having and some of the ways in which it is succeeding. PDF

The last Open Mic talk of the morning was by Ashish Gehani giving a quick overview of his work on software, including software to make data more manageable, particularly the OCCAM: Object Culling and Concretization for Assurance Maximization project.

The last agenda item for the morning was to discuss the manifesto that is one of the required Tweets: "we discussed the #manifesto as genre in … section III. … is a great #longread"outputs for this workshop. This discussion was led by James Howison, who shared the link for the Google Doc that was to become the manifesto, and which was discussed and created in tandem (and wild abandon) by many in the room duTweet: "I was, uh, one of the authors of the EAS manifesto. The original EAS manifesto. Not the compromised second draft."ring the time remaining before lunch. The manifesto is our public declaration, our own call to action. Our work is only beginning at Schloss Dagstuhl; we must put what we have discussed here into practice. We shared other manifestos (manifesti!), determined authorship as opt-in (by adding our names to the author list), and talked about but did not determine where this might be published. I found the creation of this document interesting and inspiring, very much in line with the philosophy of “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Tweet: "According to James Howison software as communication between people should be studied."
After getting a good start on the manifesto, we broke for a longer than usual lunch period, after which some took a long hike with a lakeside stop for a refreshing beverage, and some did other things. I took a much-needed nap and then noodled around for a bit in the music room, view of the music room looking toward the piano from the far end a lovely large, long room with wonderful acoustics and a recently-tuned grand piano, two guitars, a cello, and a violin available. (I discovered later in the week that the violin case also holds a kazoo.) small ornate doorway decorated with naked cherubs and a shield with 1743 on itScores for solo and ensemble music are stocked in a room at one end of the music room, the (small) door to which is watched over by cherubs. Most of the Schloss is modern in appearance; this is one of the few rooms that reveals the building’s history. I found plenty of music to amuse myself with, including a collection of Bach preludes and fugues from the WTC apparently edited by Bartók and in what to me was a confusing order, and Beethoven sonatas that at one time I knew how to butcher. Others reported having taken shorter walks than the one that was organized, listening to podcasts, trying out the bicycles available for guests, and also napping.

As you have likely surmised by now, the Twitter hashtag for this event was , and the Twitter feed offers more pictures and information about this workshop.

AAS 227 Poster 348.01: Making your code citable with the Astrophysics Source Code Library

Image of poster on ASCL showing how it can be used to cite software and get currently untrackable DOIs tracked in ADS

The Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL, is a free online registry of codes used in astronomy research. With nearly 1,200 codes, it is the largest indexed resource for astronomy codes in existence. Established in 1999, it offers software authors a path to citation of their research codes even without publication of a paper describing the software, and offers scientists a way to find codes used in refereed publications, thus improving the transparency of the research. Citations using ASCL IDs are accepted by major astronomy journals and if formatted properly are tracked by ADS and other indexing services. The number of citations to ASCL entries increased sharply from 110 citations in January 2014 to 456 citations in September 2015. The percentage of code entries in ASCL that were cited at least once rose from 7.5% in January 2014 to 17.4% in September 2015. The ASCL’s mid-2014 infrastructure upgrade added an easy entry submission form, more flexible browsing, search capabilities, and an RSS feeder for updates. A Changes/Additions form added this past fall lets authors submit links for papers that use their codes for addition to the ASCL entry even if those papers don’t formally cite the codes, thus increasing the transparency of that research and capturing the value of their software to the community.

Download poster (jpg)