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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 43 - August/September 2012

Python Course

A couple of months ago the course "Python for Astronomers" took place in the Aula. Given the large number of participants (more than 30) and the strong interest they all showed, we believe that it has been one of the most successful classes organized here at the IAC for IAC researchers in the last couple of years, possibly second only to the "IAC Gestión" training sessions. If you missed it, or think you have forgotten part of what was explained, do not despair, there are many guides and lectures on Python for scientists. We recommend that you to start with the Scipy Lectures, a good introduction to general use of scientific Python libraries and plotting tools, and then continue with Practical Python for Astronomers, an approach to some powerful astronomical libraries available for Python. Another option is to follow the first Python for Astronomers course given in 2009, which was webcast and now is publicly available in the brand new IAC Talks website (read below). If there are enough people interested in a new Python course, we can consider giving it again next year; so, if you are one of those people, please speak up by sending en email to

IACTalks is public!

Since April 2008 the IAC's Seminars Commission, with the help of the SIC and the SMM, have been webcasting and archiving the weekly seminars and monthly colloquia held here in the IAC. Now, after some work, IACTalks, a free and open access video repository, is public. IACTalks has presently more than 340 archived talks (a number which will steadily increase after the summer break), organized in categories and series (groups of related talks, as the 2012 Winter School on Secular Evolution of Galaxies); keywords and links to other relevant talks enable you to easily search for the webcasts on the topic of your interest. A more detailed description of IACTalks is provided in the astro-ph preprint So, visit, and don't forget to promote it among your colleagues!

IAC preprints submission easier than ever

The IAC Preprints archive maintained by the Research Division publishes the papers by IAC researchers. Once a paper is accepted for publication, you should go to IAC Preprints and submit your preprint filling in a simple web form. As chances are that you already did that for Astro-ph, including your preprint in IAC Preprints database is now even easier thanks to a new tool. Just provide the preprint ID (a number like 1207.3260), and the relevant information as well as the PDF file will be automatically retrieved from the Astro-ph database (you'll still need to provide some extra information not included in Astro-ph, such as project code and resources used). There are no excuses now not to use the IAC preprints submission tool!

Mac OS X support

Having waited less than four months after submitting the purchase form, the SIE has got its first 21.5" brand-new iMac (with Lion v10.7.4). The purpose is to convert this iMac into a reference platform to help users install astronomical software in their own Mac. The first tries have produced mixed feelings: some packages install out of the box, others need some tinkering, others simply fail to compile and install. We will give more details later on, however feel free to get in touch with us if you wants to know more or need help.

Condor/Diodo/LaPalma Hall of Fame

We have published the statistics for the first semester of 2012. Diodo, our Beowulf cluster, worked for about 140000 hours, a 40% of the total number of available hours. Regrettably, one of the nodes failed a couple of months ago and, since the cluster hardware is already out of maintenance, it could not be fixed or replaced. This means than now 64 CPUs are available instead of 80. See the breakdown of usage per user at http://venus/SIE/forum/viewtopic.php?p=795#p795
Condor has been working steadily, though not as much as in the previous semester. Unfortunately, due to a problem in the generation of statistics that occurred in February, there are no data available for that month. Usage data show that, on average, 170 CPUs (out of a little less than 500) were running Condor-submitted jobs. For details, see http://venus/SIE/forum/viewtopic.php?p=796#p796
Finally, local usage at the LaPalma supercomputer (that is by IAC users who applied through our allocation committee) has been of 185030 hours, about 80% of the available time. Breakdown of usage can be found in http://venus/SIE/forum/viewtopic.php?p=797#p797
SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 43 - August/September 2012 - Contact: