The dot Astronomy 6 Conference

For my last post of 2014, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the on-line material about the dot Astronomy 6 Conference, held this year at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, on December 8-10. This annual meeting on on-line astronomy generally has 50-60 participants, and includes a full day hack session, on-the-fly presentations and discussion sessions, as well as traditional talks. The aim of these meetings is to use the power of the internet to unleash creative new ideas.

This year, Brooke Simmons (Day One), Meredith Rawls (Day Two) and Elisabeth Newton (Day Three) each did a fine job of recording activities. I will summarize highlights for each day, but I recommend reading the daily blogs to get a complete picture of events.

Day One: Arfon Smith described how GitHub is a powerful tool for collaborations, and Erin Braswell talked about the Open Science Frameworm, ” … a 1-stop shop bringing together all the different tools we use for science… You can compartmentalize projects into components, some of which are allowed to be private, and identify collaborators who are working on that component (so that people get appropriate credit). Version control is built in and it’s integrated with GitHub, so you can always link back to specific states of a project or file.” Dustin Lag talked about how used to analyze images of Comet Holmes. Alberto Pepe talked about Authoera supports collaborative paper writing. Geert Barentzen opined that the dat deluge is largely hyped, except in radio astronomy.

Day Two:  Hack day. A sampling of the offerings —

  • Astronomy will be able to officially name an exoplanet when the IAU people get back to us and approve our organization… in about a month
  • There is now an astronomy hubot called botastro
  • now has a trippy version: kaleidochromescope
  • Survey of software use by astronomers is in progress. Take the survey
  • We’re learning how APOD images are shared and which ones are most popular. Everyone’s favorites seem to be skyscapes, and it seems to be that the most popular images feature the Earth.
  • Progress on hacking citations: they have scraped metadata for citations in papers and are working on a paper recommendation engine (see #astrorec)
  • New Rate My Institution survey is in development and seeking feedback
  • New website featuring a timeline of museum artifacts that are astronomically related
  • Browser extension called “unclockify” will transform hms RA/Dec coordinates into decimals
  • A baby website that juxtaposes two paper titles. User clicks on the one they think has more citations and sees if they are right or not.
  • Kepler sonification: generating a pop song solely from Kepler data is in progress, a la keplerphone.
  • New game called “transits”… sounds a lot like my research, ha! Exoplanets and star orbits and such.
  • Single-column tablet-friendly emulateApJ LaTeX template
  • Statistics tutorials are making lots of progress, exploring effects of including or excluding outliers, will have an AstroBetter category called “tutorials”
  • There is a super epic parody video in the works… I am excited
  • The new astrobites website looks much shinier but is still a work in progress
  • Map-based visualization of the AAS job registry is coming along nicely
  • App to fill in citations you’re missing based on papers you are already citing: Cite Me Maybe
  • Automatic benchmarking tool “.Travis” for use with github projects is getting started
  • Created a visualization for galaxy zoo classifications

Day Three:  Much of the day was devoted to demos of Day Two’s hacks.  Two topics of broad interest got my attention. To quote, “Two sessions focused .Astronomy themes of open access and software development. One continued the discussion about open access journals, bringing up points about peer review and commenting, curation of articles, and the various cultural barriers to the adoption of new publishing processes. As one of the hacks showed, astronomers tend to have little or no training in that area. Another session discussed how to integrate some of these skills into graduate curricula, including both formal and informal education.”


This entry was posted in astroinformatics, Astronomy, astronomy surveys, Computing, data archives, Data Management, Hack Days, informatics, information sharing, Internet, On-line Journals, Open Access, Open Source, programming, publishing, Python, Scientific computing, social media, social networking, software engineering, software maintenance, software sustainability, Time domain astronomy, Uncategorized, user communities, Virtual Observatory, Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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