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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 57 - January/February 2017

Weather data at ORM (Las Moradas) and Aggregate calendar of astronomical seminars

As mentioned in the past newsletter, during November and December we had two fourth-year physics students working on their "Práctica de Empresa" internship. They did very good work, and the applications they developed, after some improvements and refinements, are ready to be published on the IAC's website.

Pablo worked on the implementation of a tool for the online visualization of the data generated by the "Las Moradas" Automatic Weather Station on La Palma ( He helped develop, in collaboration with the Sky Group, a set of shell scripts to retrieve and process the meteorological data, and store them in a database, and then adapted the existing PHP code to publish the data on the web in real-time, both in tabular format and in GoogleChart-based graphs. Furthermore, the data are shared publicly and can be included in other websites ( This application can be easily ported and used for new weather stations.

David's job was to create an aggregate calendar of astronomical seminars broadcast live, so that any interested researcher can see, in a glance, what astronomical seminars are webcast in a given week, month, or any time period, by such major astronomical centers as the IAC, STScI, UCLA, UNM, and IAA. Perhaps the most difficult part of this work was to parse and put into a "standard" format the different formats used by the various institutions, ranging from RSS feeds to old-style tables embedded in some webpage. The results of this effort are available at the Aggregate Calendar of Astronomy Seminars (Beta) website.

10th Spanish Virtual Observatory School

As already announced, on March 6-8 the tenth Spanish Virtual Observatory School will take place here at the IAC. The aim of this School is to "expose the participants to the variety of VO tools and services available today so that they can use them efficiently for their own research, and gather requirements and feedback from participants." Besides lectures and tutorial by VO experts (Enrique Solano and Francisco Jim?nez) with real life examples of VO-based research projects, a large fraction of time will be devoted to hands-on exercises on own laptops.

As of today, there are still three seats available, so this is the last opportunity to register if you haven't done so already: the deadline is this Monday March 27. More detailed information on schedule and programme can be found in the SVO School website. If you need help to install or run the software that will be used for the school, just drop us a line.

The IAC at the Global Azure Bootcamp Science Lab

The Global Azure Bootcamp (GAB) is a one-day world-wide event where the Azure community meets to teach, learn and discuss about this cloud-computing platform ( It started in 2013 with 134 different locations, and since then numbers have been increasing: this year 180 different locations in more than 50 countries and 10000+ participants are expected. GAB includes several hands-on labs, like the GAB Racing Lab or the GAB Science Lab. The latter is a research laboratory focused on data processing, where a huge amount of cloud-computing resources (several tens of thousands of CPUs) will be available during the event to contribute on a research project, allowing anyone to participate for free by adding computational units. For instance, in last editions participants from all over the world have helped process genetic data with the ultimate aim of finding a cure to some illnesses like diabetes or breast cancer.

This year the GAB event is taking place on April 22nd, 2017, and we are pleased to announce that the research project that will be used by all participants in Science Lab is coming from IAC. Our own Sebastián Hidalgo will provide the algorithms and data for this Lab, titled "The Secret Life of Galaxies: Unveiling the true nature of their star formation", which tries to overcome the limitations that affect our observations and analysis (such as uncertainties on the galaxy's distance, instrumental signatures, insufficient spatial and spectral resolution, lack of adequate computing power), so as to achieve a better understanding of the star formation processes and history. We'd like to congratulate Sebastián on his work, and encourage you all to join in this GAB event. More information about it will be available soon.

HTCondor upgraded to version 8.6.0

In September 2015 the HTCondor stable version 8.4.0 was released after one year of development. It introduced many useful and powerful features, in particular submit description files are now able to include external files and run shell scripts, and new submit commands and options allow the handling of arbitrary names of input/output files and list of arguments. As soon as version 8.4.0 was released and following HTCondor philosophy, they began to work on the (unstable) development versions 8.5.x to include further enhancements.

A few weeks ago and after more than one year of work, the new stable version 8.6.0 has been finally released and is now installed here at the IAC. It includes many new features, for instance some of the HTCondor shell commands (condor_q, condor_status, etc.) now have new options and display info in a different way. If you use HTCondor in your line of work, we invite you to check the upgrade list ( for details about these new features, as we think that maybe some of them could be useful for your work. Following this release, we have updated the information about HTCondor@IAC available in the SIEpedia site (

SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 57 - January/February 2017 - Contact: