AstroGrid3; Bristol component

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Physics


By the end of 2007, the AstroGrid project will have completed development of all the core infrastructure software components needed for an operational Virtual Observatory (VO) system, and will have had experience setting up and running a prototype working system. Using both the AstroGrid software product, and the skills of key data centre staff, we propose to construct a fully operational and sustainable VO service for UK astronomers. This will involve several areas of work. (i) Setting up core VO services at each data centre site - Registry, Job Execution Service, MySpace, and Community Authentication. (ii) Publishing an agreed list of specific prime data services and applications, to VO standards and with VO interfaces. (iii) Working with the astronomy community to optimise science return from key missions, using the VO - including user guides, helpdesk, and training workshops. (iv) Working with system administrators and tools writers across all UK departments, providing training workshops, automated and reliable auto-install versions of any components that they wish to deploy, and easy methods for tools in any language to interact with VO services. (v) Maintaining and upgrading the core software product to engineering standards. New functionality will be added, and re-engineering will be necessary as the standards emerging from the IVOA and the rest of the e-Science world mature. (vi) Keeping abreast of the changing technology landscape, assessing new technologies and constructing prototypes of possible new infrastructure components. The service will be run for the benefit of all astronomers in the UK, but its delivery is centred on a handful of key centres. The consortium consists of institutions which were involved in constructing the AstroGrid product, and which are closely involved in the delivery in just about all of the key databases expected over the next decade - such as XMM, WFCAM, VISTA, SDO, Planck, GAIA, ALMA, e-MERLIN, and WFMOS. Ensuring that these databases are available through VO interfaces is the main aim of this project. Huge investment has been made in building each of these facilities or missions, and substantial investment has been or will soon be made in the basis data management for these missions - pipelining and archiving the data. Integrating all these datasets into the VO infrastructure, and setting up and operating core VO services such as data discovery, workflow, community storage, single sign on, and tool interoperability, will add substantially improved science for relatively little money. Most of the cost is in the staff required to install, maintain, and improve services, with a small hardware investment for running core services and improved networking.


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Taylor M (2011) STILTS: Starlink tables infrastructure library tool set in Astrophysics Source Code Library

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Taylor M (2008) ADASS XVII in ASP conference series

Description This grant developed Virtual Observatory tools allowing astronomers to access delocalized databases of catalogue information, and integrated the VO functionality into AstroGrid components. The key elements of the code that were developed were then carried forward into later developments of the Table Access Protocol (TAP), the Simple Application Messaging Protocol (SAMP), and the TOPCAT tool for manipulating and integrating astronomical data catalogues. In these formats the tools are in daily use by astronomers world-wide.
Exploitation Route The tools for accessing and manipulating catalogue data are of very general application, and have been used experimentally in non-astronomy fields (e.g., medical). A modest (few FTE year) effort could recode for further applications.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other

Description The software which we began to develop under this grant is now in a much more advanced state, and appears in mature realizations of the methodology, notably in the TOPCAT tool.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Other
Description Starlink Tables Infrastructure Library Tool Set: software for handling tabular data in many formats, including methods compliant with Virtual Observatory protocols. 
Type Of Material Data Handling & Control 
Year Produced 2010 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Used in many astronomical databases; potential uses for other complicated databases. 
Description Tool for operations on catalogues and tables: general catalogue comparison/selection tool, much used by astronomers world-wide. 
Type Of Material Data Handling & Control 
Year Produced 2011 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Extensible to many table-based datasets where matching of entries is required. Has been used on experimental basis for medical work, for example.