Message on FADS II from Jan Noordam

Carolyn White (
Mon, 09 Sep 1996 15:01:17 -0400

Future of Astronomical Data-analysis Systems (FADS-II)

Dear ADASS-96 participant:

As you may know, a special BOF session at last year's ADASS in Tucson
was devoted to the opportunities and challenges that we face over the
next 5-10 years, due to increasing data volumes, algorithm
sophistication and user expectation, and a rapidly changing software
technology environment. We interprete the fact that FADS-I was very
well attended as a sign that writers of astronomical software are very
much aware of the situation, and feel the need to work together in
looking for solutions. A short summary of what was discussed can be
found in the Proceedings:


Not surprisingly, there was a strong consensus at FADS-I that the
Internet and Distributed Objects will play a large role in our future,
perhaps in the form of the `Gaming Table' model developed by Jim
Coggins. But there was much less agreement about how we should move
forward towards that future, and what (if anything) we can do AS A
COMMUNITY. For instance, our community is much admired and envied for
our FITS standard, but it is not clear whether we should attempt to
standardise on other kinds of interfaces as well. Another interesting
question is the (r)evolutionary path from the current packages (AIPS,
IDL, HOPS, FIGARO, etc) to the new situation.

This year at FADS-II, we plan to re-examine the conlusions of FADS-I,
and to see what progress has been made in the meantime. We hope that
you will join us in this. We also invite you to join the Email
exploder that has been set up. A significant part of the success of
FADS-I was due to the preliminary Email discussion between
participants in the weeks before the actual conference. Making people
think about difficult issues beforehand is a good idea. It also helped
us organisers to formulate the key questions to be addressed, and to
identify the right `pundits' to lead the discussion at the BOF session
itself. We plan to do the same this year, and hope that you will
contribute. This invitation is going to all ADASS-96 participants, but
you will have to subscribe to be part of the exploder. Just do the

send the word "subscribe" (including quotes) in the body of an
Email message to ""

We will attempt to summarise the Email discussion at regular
intervals, and to make available an archive of contributions via a
web-page. In order to start off the discussion, you might care to
comment on the the Gaming Table concept mentioned above, and whether
it will in your opinion come about through `market forces', or require
some active involvement from you.

Jan Noordam (
Will Deich (


Jan E. Noordam           | Internet: ""
NFRA,    P.O.Box 2       | Phone: (31) 521 595(240), secr: (100)
7990 AA  DWINGELOO       | FAX:   (31) 521 597332
The Netherlands          |