I attended the SPIE meeting on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation in Edinburgh, Scotland from June 26 through July 1, and I am sharing my views on the conference presentations. Approximately 2,000 astronomers, software engineers and instrumentation specialists crowded the Edinburgh International Conference Center (EICC) for the week. You can see a detailed review of the meeting and a large collection of photographs on the SPIE web page. Parts of this post are based on the SPIE review.
Tim Jenness described the challenges of handling large amounts of data and efforts of the LSST team to join the Astropy community leveraging and contributing to those software packages within the confines set by current funding limits and methodologies. Marco Molinaro shared the results of his team’s EU-FP7 program, VIALACTEA, which provides an infrastructure for handling and manipulating diverse datasets into a more homogeneous database. I described work at the Keck Observatory Archive using R-tree indexing schemes to enable fast, more efficient searches of solar system objects.
My favorite talk was by Asher Baltzell, who discussed a cloud-based data reduction scheme applied to Magellan AO (MagAO) images and the resulting development of a free cyberinfrastructure for community use. The MagAO system featured prominently at the meeting. See the presentations in the MagAO blog at https://visao.as.arizona.edu/uncategorized/magao-at-2016-spie-astronomical-telescopes-instrumentation/.
See the SPIE review for excellent talks on gravitational waves, the operation of the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), and four NASA Science Technology Definition Teams presentations on submissions for the Decadal 2020 survey, among others.
The conference reconvenes in 2018 in Austin, Texas.