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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 52 - September/October 2014

So long Jorge, and thanks for all the websites

As you probably already know, Jorge's contract ends the last day of November. Since he still had a few vacation days to take advantage of, he has already left for good. As we write this, we do not know yet when the web-officer position in the SIE will be filled again. In the meantime the Web services we can provide will be of course limited. We will focus on keeping existing applications running and solve related problems and bugs that may show up, but in general further or new developments will necessarily freeze or be postponed until more favourable times.

Acknowledgments in papers for usage of IAC Supercomputing facilities: LaPalma, Teide-HPC, HTCondor

We would like to remind you all that our Supercomputing resources must be properly acknowledged in all papers that made use of them, the same way you acknowledge use of the ORM and OT telescopes. We have the impression that such acknowledgements are still somewhat erratic, especially for HTCondor. The sentences to be included in the acknowledgements section in the paper are:
LaPalma Supercomputer: "The author thankfully acknowledges the technical expertise and assistance provided by the Spanish Supercomputing Network (Red Española de Supercomputación), as well as the computer resources used: the LaPalma Supercomputer, located at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias."
Teide-HPC: "The author(s) wish to acknowledge the contribution of Teide High-Performance Computing facilities to the results of this research. TeideHPC facilities are provided by the Instituto Tecnológico y de Energíaas Renovables (ITER, SA). URL:"
HTCondor (there is no standard format, we suggest the following): "This paper made use of the IAC Supercomputing facility HTCondor ("

New desktop PCs soon to come

Last February we submitted a proposal to the MICINN applying for FEDER (the Spanish acronym for "European Regional Development Fund") money to expand our HTCondor network with the acquisition of a number of latest-model desktop PCs. A little unexpectedly, the proposal was approved, so that we have now about 50 thousand Euro (80% covered by FEDER, 20% by IAC's own money) to buy what we estimate to be about 60-70 desktop PCs. The exact model (and price) depends on what "Patrimonio" has available in its catalog, but in principle it should have 4 or 8 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HD. These new PCs will replace those old ones whose maintenance has already expired and which (some of them) have started to show some old age ailments. We would like to thank all those users who sent us short descriptions of how they use HTCondor and why it's important for their research work: some of them were included in the proposal as illustrative examples and certainly made a major contribution to its success.
And speaking of HTCondor (which celebrates 10 years since its first installation here at the IAC), we would like to remind you that, if you were unable to attend the HTCondor Workshop held last month, you still can access both the Presentation and the Exercises (Google slides). Also, for those users not familiar with HTCondor but interested in using it, our SIEpedia article Introduction to HTCondor is an excellent starting point

ULL student practice at SIE: "Benchmarking the computing resources at IAC."

As part of the "Práctica Externa" program carried out by the IAC and the ULL, Juan Carlos Trelles Arjona, a fourth-year student in the Department of Physics, has joined the IAC to carry out a one-month long project whose objective is to benchmark the computing resource available at the IAC (from humble desktop PCs to Supercomputers, and possibly including laptops). He will first use a number of standard industry benchmark codes, compiled with the different compilers installed at the IAC (GNU, Intel, PGI), and then run some specific tests for those astronomical software packages commonly used at the IAC (IRAF, IDL, Python, etc.). Users often wonder how faster the brand-new PC assigned to their officemates is compared to their older one, or how much they gain in speed by running their code on the LaPalma Supercomputer or on Teide-HPC, or if their small laptop is good enough for number-crunching. We hope this study will be able to provide a quantitative answer to these questions. The results will be published in the next issue of our Newsletter.

CATeval: A Web-based application to manage proposals evaluation and observing time allocations

A couple of weeks ago the Time Allocation Commission (CAT from its Spanish acronym) met to rate the proposals andallocate observing time among the successful ones. During the last few years the work of the CAT has been made progressively more comfortable and efficient by a Web-based application called CATeval, created here at the IAC. It was first implemented by A. B. Griñón Marín, J. Acosta and A. de Vicente, and subsequently maintained and further developed by yours truly, in particular by A. Dorta. One of the latest improvements was the inclusion in the application of the algorithms used to allocate observing time (hours or night) taking into account such constrains as required Moon phase and preferred or impossible observing dates. This addition, complemented by useful statistics, allows the CAT to optimally allocate the available observing time among the best rated proposals, and guarantee a good balance between the time allocated to each of its three panels (Galaxies & Cosmology, Galaxies & Stars and Stars & Planets). The development of CATeval does not stop here. The next step, to be completed before the next meeting, is to streamline significantly the intercommunication process between CATeval and, the Web service that receives the proposals and then displays the results to the applicants.

Astrophysics Source Code Library

Perhaps many of you do not know yet the Astrophysics Source Code Library, a "free online registry for source codes of interest to astronomers and astrophysicists and which lists codes that have been used in research that has appeared in, or been submitted to, peer-reviewed publications." Also, "The ASCL is indexed by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) and is citable by using the unique ascl ID assigned to each code." As of now there are a little less than one thousand entries in the ASCL, which can be browsed by title, date, or be full searched.
SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 52 - September/October 2014 - Contact: