Final Day of ADASS

These are my opinions and thoughts about the fourth day of ADASS.   It isn’t necessarily a summary of the day or complete but  just my reflections on the day along with some random commentary or thoughts.  Also these thoughts might not be in chronological order.  See here for Day #1Day #2, and Day #3.  And also, this is why you don’t wait a few days to blog.  

1. The day started off with Sarah Kendrew’s talk about .Astronomy. It was a very good talk and I’m excited about attending my first .Astronomy.   There were so many interesting hacks (see the end of Arna Karnick’s Day Zero .Astronomy guide  or her post from .Astronomy 6 ).    I’m going to wait to say more about .Astronomy for after this week, but it will be interesting to compare the two meetings.   My initial thought is that they will be very complimentary.

2.   The international virtual observatory.   There was so much buzz in the early years of the VO that most people were eventually disappointed with it not doing everything.   Nonetheless, in the time that people were disappointed, people dedicated to standards continued to work at and produce documents and descriptions for a wide range of astronomical data.    Much of the work done by the IVOA is hidden from the end user’s sight, but implemented by the people writing archives and services that we all use.    I know I sometimes find the IVOA documentation impenetrable, but I also know how much more is possible if interoperability between data sets is enabled.    And I really appreciate people doing the hard work that no one else wants to, and so it was really great to see Christophe Arviset’s talk about what VO has made possible today.

3.  The SKA is coming, the SKA is coming, and there is a lot of data that will be coming with it as well.  I think this is very exciting and terrifying and fun to listen to the different ways people are trying to cope with the data and how to reduce it, analyze it, and distribute it.

4. Hierarchical Progressive Survey.  I don’t fully understand it yet, but it sure looks like a useful way for exploring through different surveys.

5.  Amazon web services.  The most impressive thing was the number of groups that have just farmed out their data hosting/data distribution to Amazon.   Many talks quoted numbers that indicated that it was cheaper/easier then maintaining your own servers.   Stop buying servers, Cloud services are now a commodity.

6.  Nothing to see here but some cool Montage images.

7.  I enjoyed the impromptu poster lightning session and appreciated a few posters that I hadn’t read close enough.   I always think lightning talks should be kept to a limited number as I start to zone out after too many, but this was pretty ideal number and I hope it becomes a regular part of the program.

8.  The Hubble Source Catalog is a great idea that I’ve often wondered why it didn’t exist already.   However, it apparently is harder than you think and one of the main hurdles according to Bradley Whitmore is taking care of the astrometry in Hubble Observations (which I’ve run into before even in my most recent paper, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised).   However, it is impressive that they have taken care of so many things and do have it working.   It’s on my list of things to check out in more detail.

9.  Also the design and implementation of some aspects of the python JWST pipeline presented by Howard Bushouse were very familiar to the work we’ve done on ccdproc.    I think some of it are a bit more specifically focused for JWST then a generalized package.  I never got a chance to chat to Howard at this meeting, but I am hoping to follow up with him and others about supporting generalized packages.   This will mean less duplication, more testing, and better sharing of resources.    I’d much rather work with others than alone.

10. Overall though, I’d say it was a good conference and definitely worthwhile to attend.   Thanks to the POC for an interesting program and the LOC for a well run conference (I haven’t mentioned it elsewhere, but I really liked CAASTRO’s conference app).   I’ve had conflicts in the past that prevented me to attend and with the funding situation in South Africa, I’m not sure if I could attend every year, but it is definitely a conference I will try to go to again.   There were a lot of other first timers at ADASS, but I was also really impressed with the people that made the meeting every year.   I can see why people would keep coming back:  a really friendly community, presentations that were helpful and potential make me more productive, and  learning about new and interesting developments happening around the world.

Nonetheless, I did not think coming into the meeting that I would necessarily be generating new science collaborations.   However, I have at least two potential new collaborators and hopefully a number of other potential projects to work on.   I also learned about a number of new tools and techniques that will improve how I science.   So even though I was coming for the archives, I’d stay for the science.