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High Energy Astrophysics Data Centers Coordination (HEADCC) Meeting

November 13, 2002

The HEADCC meeting took place in Cambridge on November 13, 2002, under the auspices of the CXC. Participants included representatives of the CXC, SAO, the HEASARC, the XMM-Newton European Data Center, Leicester University, the Japanese ISAS, and other interested astronomers.

The purpose of this meeting was to look at our different software systems, identify areas of collaboration, identify areas of similar efforts that could be merged or streamlined, and set priorities for future collaborations. Representatives of the Data Centers each gave a brief status of their projects:

Bill Pence (HEASARC) reported on the HEADAS software, including new FTOOLS, CALDB and CFITSIO developments.

Martin Elvis (CXC) presented news on CIAO updates and plans for CIAO 3.0, which will include S-Lang access to tools, giving CIAO a programable/scriptable capability; also discussed were the release of ChaRT (a GUI interface to the Chandra raytrace software), Webguide (a web interface to the APED/APEC atomic transition database, that allows the user identification of spectral lines), and significant upgrades in documentation.

Fred Jansen (XMM-Newton) discussed the status of the SAS software, which produces calibrated processed data, on which any other software tool may be used. The upcoming Version 6 will fix some keyword problems, as well as introducing missing functionality and GUIs.

Plans for new missions included Astro-E2, discussed by Koji Mukai (at NASA-GCFC) and Dr. Ueda (ISAS); Swift (Alan Smale, GSFC); GLAST (David Band, GSFC), and INTEGRAL (Ken Ebisawa, GSFC). The need for working towards inter-operability with FTOOLS and CIAO was discussed.

Bill Joye (SAO) presented new developments in the DS9 visualizer, which now includes support for the Virtual Observatory, allowing analysis of data on a remote site, and full WCS (World Coordinate System) support.

These presentations were followed by group discussions on selected topics. The aim of these discussions was to highlight the path towards a more complete inter-operability of the various data analysis tools.

The discussion of FITS conventions was led by Jonathan McDowell (CXC). By making the keywords of data products from different observatories mutually compatible, different data sets will be accessible by a wider range of software. This work is a data model effort for the high energy astrophysics data, and fits in well with the effort of the astrophysical community towards a more general seamless access to different data archives (the Virtual Observatory). The action was assigned to Jonathan to lead a pilot effort using Chandra and XMM data and software.

Keith Arnaud (HEASARC) led the discussion of the need to standardize the conventions for regions files, and Bill Pence (HEASARC) addressed issues of software compatibility. A more seamless interplay between FTOOLS and CIAO was advocated and will be pursued.

A discussion of the Calibration Data (Mike Corcoran, HEASARC; Dale Graessle, CXC) identified the need for an extension of the CALDB system to accommodate the complexity of the Chandra data. Work has already begun to resolve this need.

The meeting was concluded with a discussion of image display and line graphics programs, and it was concluded that DS9 should be extended towards a fuller support of line graphics.

This was a very fruitful meeting and we look forward to the improvements in our capability of handling data from different missions within a similar user environment.

Giuseppina Fabbiano

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