Thursday, July 12, 2012

dotastronomy 4

another dotastronomy has come and gone.  what fun!

exhilarating and exhausting.
motivational, inspirational, educational and entertaining.
a hive of productive creativity.

... and too much food and alcohol. but i digress...

Photo Credit: Stuart Lowe

i enjoyed the company of some old friends and met a swarm of talented new people.  i learned about the existence of some amazing online research and data visualization tools, and witnessed the creation of a bevy of impressive new research tools, hacked together in a day, from small collaborations of clever, hard-working people.

the mornings of the conference consisted of sessions inside the planetarium of the haus der astronomie, high above the lovely city of heidelberg, germany.

Photo Credit: Stuart Lowe

afternoons were filled with unconference sessions (informal discussions and lessons suggested by participants throughout the day) and the infamous hack day. 

    the hacking event started just after lunch on the second day of the conference.

    Photo Credit: Stuart Lowe

    and continued for the rest of the day/evening/night...

    Photo Credit: Alasdair Allan

    the hacking/pair coding didnt stop on the funicular down the mountain back to town!

    and on and on we worked, well into the rainy night! 

    i might have won the prize for working the latest this year, as i didnt finish until 3:30 am!  more on that later... 

    a few results of this year's hack day:
    • a cool and fun browser data fitting tool by dan foreman-mackey.   it's not often that i describe fitting data as "fun," but this gaussian fitting tool actually is!?!    and it was made in a day.  amazing.  
    • a cosmology calculator dashboard widget for macs created by brooke simmons, stuart lowe, and julie steele.  you can get it at this link (zip file)
    • a useful page of links and resources recommended by attendees: here 
    • and i managed to make the science video that i threatened to create a few weeks ago.   i'll post the official release in the next couple days!
    many more projects were completed, but they dont have anything to link to.

    an interesting question raised during the conference was how we can cite the the useful software tools developed over long periods of time by these and other astronomers?  we didn't come to a good conclusion about this, but as developers and data analysts become a growing population of professional astronomers, this issue must be considered seriously by the community! i'd be curious to hear suggestions on this matter.

    overall, it has been another great few days!  many thanks to all organizers, especially sarah kendrew and rob simpson!


    Anonymous said...

    I am using a software developed by several astronomers. They actually put out a sentence or two on the web and want the fellow astronomers to use that for acknowledgement on the paper. I believe these people are actually in the meeting you attended. On the other hand, it is harder to cite somebody algorithm if it isn't publicly available (also encountered this recently).

    heroineworshipper said...

    What software did you write?