Category Archives: presentations

In conclusion 2 …

As promised in a previous post, here are a few slides from the second block of EWASS 2017 software presentations.

Reproducibility in Era of Data-Driven Science, Kai Polsterer (slides: PDF)

Conclusion: publications should be open access. Data should include all raw, test, training, and reference data in addition to detailed results. Software should be put into repositories and registries, and parameters, configuration, and environment needed to run the software should be saved as much as possible.


Should short codes used for astronomy research be made public?, Robert Nemiroff (slides: PDF)

Summary and key points. Short codes can be vitally important, yet we never see them, making science less falsifiable. Let's reverse this. Submit your important short codes with your papers, like Figures, OR to the ASCL (at Science, on the whole, will be stronger.


Giving credit where credit is due: the role of ADS in discovering and citing software in scholarly publications, Sergi Blanco-Cuaresma (slides: PDF)

SAO/NASA ADS. Identification: What software version? Preservation: Is that version still available? Attribution: Is the right set of authors receiving the credit?


Fifteen years of WISE technology software development and operations, Gijs Verdoes Kleijn (slides: PDF)

The future: (Big) Data Science and Education. University of Groningen astronomy student admissions tripled since 2010. Strategy: grow a new generation of data scientists


CDS reference services supporting astronomy research, Mark Allen (slides: PDF)

Challenges and Opportunities. Multi-wavelength, multi-messenger and time-domain astrophysics. Changing modes of publication -- data associated with publications. Responding to the change in scale - Big Data. New technologies - not too soon, not too late. Bringing the code to the data. Continued adaptation to meet community needs.

Developments and Practices in Astronomy Research Software at EWASS 2017

The annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS), the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS), was held June 26-30 in beautiful Prague. As mentioned in a previous blog post, Abigail Stevens (U Amsterdam), Amruta Jaodand (ASTRON), Matteo Bachetti (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari), Rein Warmels (ESO), and I organized a Special Session titled Developments and Practices in Astronomy Research Software. Special Sessions at EWASS can be from one to three 90-minute blocks; we organized three blocks, each with its own focus and all scheduled on Wednesday, June 28, which were:

Best practices for code development and management
Perspectives in research software
Astronomy software packages review

The first two sessions opened with review talks, then had a series of slightly shorter presentations, each with a particular focus. Each of these sessions concluded with a 30-minute period in which the floor was open to all to ask questions of the speakers and discuss the issues and information that had been shared during the 90 minutes. The third session offered talks on specific popular software packages and concluded with lightning talks on the software posters submitted to this Special Session. In addition to this series of talks, a Hack Together Day was organized collaboratively that offered more information on and assistance with installing and/or using many of the software packages presented.

Session titles and presenters for the software sessions that Abigail Stevens (U Amsterdam), Amruta Jaodand (ASTRON), Matteo Bachietti (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari), Rein Warmels (ESO), and I organize are listed below, and if you want to read through the Storify of session tweets, compiled by Stevens as a Hack Together Day project, that’s here:

Best practices for code development and management
Moderator: Rein Warmels, ESO, Germany

This session opened with a talk by Simon Portegies Zwart (Leiden University, NL), author of AMUSE and other astro codes, on Reproducible science in scientific computing. He laid the groundwork for this block of talks by presenting the difficulties of reproducibility in simulation software, the best practices his group uses, and the philosophy behind AMUSE, which includes standardizing interfaces and automating as much as possible. His talk included simulations that made for an extremely large presentation file, so a partial set of his slides is provided.
(slides: PDF)

Simon Portegies Zwart presenting at EWASS

Simon Portegies Zwart

In the interest of time, I will not summarize the other talks in this block, but will say you should have been there! These were excellent presentations with many great practices and ideas shared. In the discussion, moderated by Warmels, someone asked about “short codes,” and as luck would have it, the next block had a talk on just that topic. There was disagreement on some voiced opinions, and many ideas shared that warrant greater discussion.

The other talks in this block were:

Software development best practices from Astropy
Thomas Robitaille, Freelance, UK (slides: PDF)

A Computer Science Perspective on the Astronomy Research Software Process
John Wenskovitch, Virginia Tech & Allegheny College, US (slides: PDF)

TARDIS: A radiative transfer code, an open source community, and an interdisciplinary collaboration
Wolfgang Kerzendorf, ESO, DE (slides: PDF)

Research software best practices: Transparency, credit, and citation
Alice Allen, ASCL, US (slides: PDF, PPTX)

Perspectives in research software
Moderator: Alice Allen, ASCL, USA
Kai Polsterer (Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, DE) set the stage for the second block in the Special Session with his presentation Reproducibility in Era of Data-Driven Science. He also highlighted the difficulties of reproducibility, among them that different computing environments can produce different results from the same code, and though he acknowledged the difficulties in doing so, advocates that publications, datasets (including raw and training data), codes, component and software configuration, and computing environments need to be shared for full reproducibility. Or as John Wenskovitch summarized in a tweet during this presentation, “Publish everything. EVERYTHING. Architecture, model, code, data, parameters, …” We are not there yet, but must share what we can when we can to increase reproducibility.
(slides: PDF)

Kai Polsterer, image by @K_Bonson

The other talks in this second of three blocks were:

Should short codes used for astronomy research be made public?
Robert Nemiroff, Michigan Technological University, US (slides: PDF, PPTX)

Giving credit where credit is due: the role of ADS in discovering and citing software in scholarly publications
Sergi Blanco-Cuaresma, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, US (slides: PDF)

Fifteen years of WISE technology software development and operations
Gijs Verdoes Kleijn, University of Groningen, NL (slides: PDF)

CDS reference services supporting astronomy research
Mark Allen, CDS, Observatoire Astronomique De Strasbourg, FR (slides: PDF)

Astronomy software packages review
Moderator: Amruta Jaodand, ASTRON, NL

The third block of talks in this Special Session presented software packages useful for software research, from the well-established AstroPy to, in the short poster presentations, newly-developed software such as SPARTAN. The talks in this 90-minute block were:

The Astropy Project
Thomas Robitaille, Freelance, UK (slides: PDF)

Stingray and Dave: Spectral timing for all
Matteo Bachetti, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, IT (slides: PDF)

Living on the fringe: Making CASA ready for VLBI
Ilse van Bemmel, JIVE, NL

Interactive widgets for the Jupyter notebook
Maarten Breddels, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, NL (Jupyter notebook, ipywidgets demo (PDF), poster)

Lightning poster talks

Again, you should have been there! One blog post cannot possibly convey everything shared in this Special Session, but the slides the presenters have shared captures some of the great goodness in these talks. My thanks to all the presenters, to my co-organizers, and to the attendees who made this session so interesting and excellent, to EWASS for accepting our proposals, and to HITS for providing the ASCL with funding that allowed us to participate.

ASCL at the 2017 European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) meeting

The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) was held June 26-30 in Prague and attended by over 1,100 people, and the ASCL was there! This post is an overview of the ASCL’s participation in the event; a subsequent post (or two) will provide more detailed information and links to slide decks for sessions the ASCL was involved in organizing.

Program page for software talks

Program page for software talks
Image by Amruta Jaodand

This was my first time attending EWASS, which was initially brought to my attention by Keith Smith (Science). It was also my first time in Prague. My activities since the meeting have included submitting proposals (with others) for EWASS 2018, which will be in Liverpool, and pricing short-term apartment rentals in Prague; clearly, I liked both the meeting and the city very much! My thanks to Keith for cluing me in to this fine meeting.

ASCL Advisory Committee member Rein Warmels (ESO) and I partnered with Abigail Stevens (U Amsterdam), Amruta Jaodand (ASTRON), and Matteo Bachetti (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari) on software-related sessions for EWASS 2017; our collaboration resulted in a day of talks on Wednesday called Developments and Practices in Astronomy Research Software and a Hack Together Day on Thursday, this latter coordinated by Stevens, Jaodand, and Bachetti.

The ASCL was well represented, with ASCL co-founder Robert Nemiroff (MTU) giving a talk on short codes and Warmels and I each moderating 90-minute sessions on software, both with a discussion period; I also gave a presentation on the ASCL and participated in the Hack Together Day.

The Hack Together Day had numerous exciting projects; the ASCL’s projects were less glamorous than most others but yielded really useful information, some of which has already been added to ASCL entries.

Our collective efforts went very well, despite a few worrisome moments along the way. The room our Special Session presentations were in had 98 seats; perhaps 90% were filled for these sessions, and there were people also standing in the room. The presenters/presentations were great and the discussions were lively, and more information about these sessions will be posted soon.

There was of course much much more to EWASS than our efforts; notable for those software-inclined were the astrometry, big data, and astroinformatics sessions and associated posters for all of these sessions. In all, an excellent conference!

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.