NVO Summer School 2005 Report

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					NVOSS II (2005)                                                Nov 2005

                                          Report on the Second
                                          NVO Summer School

             Building the Framework for the
               National Virtual Observatory

                         NSF Cooperative Agreement


NVOSS II (2005)       Nov 2005

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                   Nov 2005

     Report on the Second NVO Summer School (2005)


This document describes the program and activities of the second National Virtual Ob-
servatory Summer School, which was held at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado
from September 6 through September 15, 2005. This program was successful in intro-
ducing a broad range of scientists and developers to the new opportunities for astronomi-
cal research opened by the development of the Virtual Observatory. This report summa-
rizes the goals, program, and outcomes of the school. Appendix 1 includes the full pro-
gram, Appendix 2 includes the results from a survey of the participants, and Appendix 3
gives a full financial report.

Overall the summer school was very successful. Feedback from the students was ex-
tremely positive. The concerns students had were with the amount of material that was
being presented in a very limited time frame. Approximately two thirds of students filled
out an extensive Web survey and the full results of this survey are attached to this report.

Objectives of the Summer School

The primary message of the 2005 Summer School was to communicate that the Virtual
Observatory is open for astronomical research. The NVO itself is a program in the de-
velopment of information technologies, but its goal is to enable new ways to do research
in astrophysics. While there is still much development ongoing and planned in the US
National Virtual Observatory program and other VO efforts worldwide, the VO now pro-
vides a rich suite of software and data resources.

This focus was slightly different from the first summer school, where there was greater
emphasis on the showing how data providers could make data available to the community
through the Virtual Observatory. While data are still being added to the NVO, with thou-
sands of tables, hundreds of searchable services, and indexes for dozens of data archives
in the VO, there are already myriad data sources for VO-facilitated investigations.

One of the reactions to the previous summer school had been that our strong emphasis on
Java tended to mask the language-independent nature of the VO. If scientists need to
learn new languages to use the Virtual Observatory, that will be seen as a major hurdle to
its adoption. One of the themes of this summer school was to make it clear that the VO
is accessible in the languages that scientists use; Java is fine, but so are IDL, Perl, C++,
Python, and PHP. Supporting this goal was a major driver in the preparations for the
school, with software libraries provided in many different languages.

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                 Nov 2005

Building on the success of the student projects in the first summer school, we continued
to make the student projects the focal point of the school. Scientists learn by doing, and
just as in the first summer school the entire program was geared towards ensuring that
participants were involved in a major student project during the last few days of the

All of these goals were met. The astronomers who attended this summer school clearly
indicated in oral and written comments that they anticipated the VO playing a significant
role in their future research and that they would be using what they had learned here. A
number of the student projects gave access to major new data resources. Student projects
made extensive use of IDL, Python, and PHP libraries, even if students were not familiar
with these languages prior to the school. The projects themselves were ambitious despite
having only two days to work on them: a remarkable amount was accomplished.

Program Review

This year’s summer school program consisted of five distinct elements: the VO Pre-
school, presentations on VO protocols and services, exercises, science presentations, and
student projects. The overall schedule for the summer school is given in Appendix 1.

New this year was the two-day preschool that provided participants with a background in
the underlying software technologies used in the VO. In the previous summer school
some of this material had been included in the specifically VO presentations, but student
reaction had been that more time was needed and there tended to be a lot of confusion as
to what were general standards and what the VO itself was providing. This year the first
two days were devoted to presentations on SQL, XML, Web services and a primer on
some of the languages that could be used in accessing the VO. Students found this intro-
duction useful in getting up to speed and this approach made it much clearer what the VO
itself comprised. While the language presentations themselves could not teach new lan-
guages (and were not intended to), they did show some students how easily the VO could
be accessed through some of the scripting languages and many student projects took ad-
vantage of this later on.

The preschool sessions were also designed to give us a chance to iron out any issues in
the installation of VO related software so that later demonstrations and exercises went
more smoothly.

The core of the information presented to students for the summer school was a series of
talks on the various VO services and protocols: what they are, how they are invoked, and
their capabilities and limitations. Presentations were given on the basic data access pro-
tocols: cone search, simple image access, and SkyNodes; the metadata protocols: ADQL,
UCDs, and VOTables. These presentations were given over the course of three days.
While the students found the pace of these presentations to be quite intense, they clearly
assimilated the material within them for use in the own student projects later on. Gener-
ally these presentations were well-received.

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                 Nov 2005

While many of the core talks had the students using elements of the VO themselves, three
student exercises were included to ensure that there was time for some extended student
use of the material being presented. There was some tension between making sure that
the students had some clear objectives in these exercises and giving them sufficient au-
tonomy to concentrate on the aspects of the protocols of most interest to themselves. Ad-
dressing this tension may require some attention in future schools. Nonetheless students
were able to create their own VO clients and services.

A key element of this year’s summer school was a series of science-oriented presenta-
tions and discussions. Some showed the VO used in active research, others discussed
how the VO has changed how we do research. These talks were key to achieving our
primary goal of focusing on research with the VO. Feedback was enthusiastic for these

The student projects are listed in the program in Appendix 1. The student teams were
entirely self-selected and self-led and did a magnificent job. Almost all made substantial
progress in just a couple of days of activity. Three projects were called out for special
mention: in the science area, the merging galaxy pairs team and the HI spectral line arc-
hive team; and in the technology area, the VOEvent team. Each of these teams was of-
fered partial financial support for attending the AAS meeting in January 2006 to present a
paper based on their project.

Faculty and Staff

The faculty for the summer school included

      Thomas McGlynn, NASA GSFC
      Dave De Young, NOAO
      Michael Fitzpatrick, NOAO
      Matthew Graham, Caltech
      Gretchen Greene, STScI
      Robert Hanisch, STScI
      Simon Krughoff, University of Pittsburgh
      Shui Kwok, Keck Observatory
      Chris Miller, NOAO
      Maria Nieto-Santisteban, Johns Hopkins University
      Ray Plante, University of Illinois
      Doug Tody, NRAO
      Roy Williams, Caltech

Staff support during the summer school was ably provided by Sarah Emery Bunn (Cal-
tech). Logistical support was provided by Sadie Lingham (JHU) and Shelly Meyett
(STScI). Sarah Emery Bunn also assembled and edited the Proceedings. This year’s fa-
culty included several students from the previous summer school.

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                 Nov 2005


A total of 60 students applied for the summer school. Applicants ranged from graduate
students to senior tenured faculty and included both astronomers and software develop-
ers. A sub-committee of three faculty members reviewed the applications and ranked the
applicants. The full faculty reviewed these rankings and 41 applicants were invited to the
school. Many good applications could not be accepted due to lack of space at the school.
Only one invitee withdrew his application and another had to cancel at the last minute
owing to a family emergency.

Approximately 20% of the students were foreign and approximately 20% were women.
The participants were:

       Allam, Sahar           University of Wyoming
       Allen, Steve           UCO/Lick Observatory
       Allsman, Roberta       NOAO / LSST Project
       Bochanski, John        University of Washington
       Bogosavljevic, Milan   Caltech, Department of Astronomy
       Brewer, Jeremy         University of Pittsburgh
       Butterworth, Paul      NASA/GSFC
       Cargile, Phillip       Vanderbilt University
       Chan, (Ben) Hiu Pan    Caltech - IPAC (NED)
       Cortes, Paulo          University of Illinois
       Desert, Jean-Michel    Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP)
       Deneva, Julia          Cornell University
       Drake, Andrew          Princeton/Caltech
       Fhima, Avi             Gemini Observatory
       Garcia, Jorge          Gemini Observatory
       Gasson, David          National Optical Astronomy Observatory
       Gee, Perry             University of California Davis Physics Dept.
       Hanley, Christopher    Space Telescope Science Institute
       Huber, Mark            Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
       Kennefick, Julia       Physics Dept., University of Arkansas/Fayetteville
       Kent, Brian            Cornell University
       Koposov, Sergey        Sternberg Astronomical Institute
       Lindroos, Johan        CSC-Scientific Computing ltd. SAMPO / ESO
       Loh, Yeong             University of Colorado
       Mahabal, Ashish        Caltech Astronomy
       Manzato, Patrizia      INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste
       Muench, August         Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
       Prema, Paresh          University of Cambridge
       Price, Aaron           AAVSO
       Puerari, Ivanio        INAOE
       Seaman, Robert         National Optical Astronomy Observatory

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                     Nov 2005

       Shaw, Laurie           Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
       Strickler, Rachel      San Francisco State University
       Tucker, Douglas        Fermilab
       Valdes, Francisco      NOAO
       Vivas, Kathy           Centro de Investigaciones de Astronomia (CIDA)
       Wadadekar, Yogesh      Space Telescope Science Institute
       Way, Michael           NASA Ames Research Center
       Whitmore, Brad         Space Telescope Science Institute

Course Preparations

Preparations for the academic program began in January 2005. Faculty selection was
completed in February and regular bi-weekly (later weekly) telecons were initiated.
Preparations included development of the course outlines, course assignments to faculty,
software requirements, and the development of a rigorous software testing schedule.
During the summer all software to be used at the summer school was tested by faculty
members other than the developers and a complete software distribution system was
brought up and tested.

In the few weeks prior to the summer school preliminary versions of many of the courses
were made available to the other faculty for review.

Successive versions of the complete summer school software package were built and
tested by the faculty. Many special issues with particular operating systems were discov-
ered and rectified. While a few problems were still uncovered during the summer school
itself, the software development and testing were effective in delivering working code to
students before the summer school. Most students had installed the summer school soft-
ware prior to the coming to Aspen.


In addition to the school itself, the summer school delivered two major products: The
summer school software distribution and the summer school course materials, both of
which are available through the NVO web site. (CDROM copies were distributed at the
ADASS Conference in Spain in October and will be available at the AAS meeting in
January 2006).

The software library includes end-user applications like Aladin, TOPCat, and Mirage as
well as libraries for accessing VO resources in IDL, Perl, IRAF, Java, PHP, and Python.
The summer school library is an invaluable resource for any programmer or scientist
wishing to access the VO through the command line. The NVO summer school software
library is available at


NVOSS II (2005)                                                                   Nov 2005

The summer school library provides users with broad capabilities to use the virtual ob-
servatory for providing services or for doing research.

The material for all the courses presented at the summer school is available at


The preliminary results from many of the student projects are also available there. These
courses are excellent tutorials in almost all aspects of the virtual observatory. The
science presentations give step-by-step instructions in how to do major research projects
in the VO, while the discussions of protocols can be helpful to any attempting to provide
data or services through the VO.


The summer school was hosted at the Aspen Meadows Resort of the Aspen Institute. The
facilities were generally quite good and the staff was friendly. Rooms and meals were

Internet connectivity from the meeting room was generally adequate but for the network
intensive applications of the VO they were often barely so. A major power failure in As-
pen brought down the network during one day. Connectivity from the hotel rooms was
generally poor and sometimes entirely unavailable. This was unfortunate as it made it
difficult for students to catch up during the evening.

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                Nov 2005

Appendix 1. Program

9/7 Wednesday (Preschool):
Introduction to the NVO Summer School: McGlynn (45 minutes)
Using the VO Summer School Libraries: Graham/Greene (1.5 hours)
Introduction to SQL: Nieto-Santisteban (2 hours)
Introduction to XML: Krughoff (45 minutes)
XML Technologies: Plante (1 hour)
Web Service Technologies: Graham (30 minutes)

9/8: Thursday (Preschool)
Web Service Technologies (cont'd): Graham (1:15 hour)
Grid Computing: Williams (45 minutes)
Java: Plante (45 minutes)
Java Web Libraries: Krughoff (30 minutes)
Language mini-tutorials:
  C#: Graham (30 minutes)
  IDL: Miller (30 minutes)
  IRAF: Fitzpatrick (30 minutes)
  Perl: McGlynn (30 minutes)
  PHP: Kwok (30 minutes)
  Python: Kwok (30 minutes)

9/9: Friday
Applications: Hanisch (45 minutes)
Protocols Overview: McGlynn (30 minutes)
Science Outlook:_ Using the VO to Study the Relationship of Galaxies and Clusters:
       Miller (1.5 hours)
VOTables: Fitzpatrick (45 minutes)
Data access Protocols: Tody (1 hour)
Exercise 1: Building a VO Client: Tody (1.5 hours)

9/10: Saturday
SkyNodes: Greene (1 hour)
ADQL: Plante (1 hour)
Managing VO data and process flows: Graham (30 minutes)
UCDs: Williams (30 minutes)
Integrating existing tools into the VO: (Fitzpatrick and Miller (45 minutes)
Exercise 2: Building a VO Service: Greene (1.5 hours)
Science Outlook: Using the VO for Cross-correlations: Krughoff (1.5 hours)

9/12: Monday
Resource Metadata: Hanisch (30 minutes)
Publication and Registry Clients: slides Greene and Plante (45 minutes)

NVOSS II (2005)                                                            Nov 2005

VOEvents: Seaman (10 minutes)
Project teams organization.
Data and Service Discovery: Kwok (30 minutes)
Dealing with Invalid Data: Kwok (30 minutes)
Exercise 3: Combining VO Elements: Kwok (1.5 hours)
Science Outlook: Object Classification using the VO: McGlynn (1 hour)

9/13: Tuesday
Science Outlook: Using the Grid for Astronomical Data: Williams (1 hour)
Project time

9/14: Wednesday
Science Outlook: Data Quality in the VO: De Young (30 minutes)
What's on Tap in the VO: Hanisch (30 minutes)
Project time
Project team presentations
 HI Archives-Data Access and Tools (Brian Kent, Cornell University)
 Spectrophotometry Client and Web Service (Frank Valdes, Paresh Prema, John
 Finding Merging Pairs of Galaxies with the NVO (Sahar Allam, Douglas Tucker, Ivanio
        Puerari Perry Gee, Yeong Loh)
 Super Star Clusters in Nearby Galaxies (Brad Whitmore, Chris Hanley, Ben Chan)
 Creating/retrieving simulated x-ray luminosity maps (Laurie Shaw)
 VOEvent (Ashish Mahabal, Rob Seaman, Aaron Price, Jorge
        Garcia, Avi Fhima, Steve Allen)
 A Pipeline for BIMA Polarization Data (Paulo Cortes)

9/15: Thursday
Project team presentations
 Galaxy Decomposition Service (Yogesh Wadadekar, Milan Bogosavljevic, Ashish
 Crossmatch between local database and SIAP archives (Julia Deneva)
 Cluster::Node (August Muench, Rachel Strickler, Phill Cargile)
 HyperLeda and SDSS (Sergey Koposov, Jeremy Brewer, Michael Way)
 VO Timeseries (Andrew Drake, Mark Huber, Robyn Allsman, Kathy Vivas, David
 WCSFixer (Jeremy Brewer, Sergey Koposov)
Awards: De Young
Closing comments: Hanisch

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                     Nov 2005

Appendix 2. Survey

There were 26 responses to the survey; all were received during the last day of the sum-
mer school or shortly after.

1. Technical Statistics

                          What was the OS you used at the school?

                          12%           15%                         Fedora Core 4
                     4%                                             Mac OS 10.3
                     8%                                             Mac OS 10.4
                                                                    Other (please specify)
                                                                    RedHat 9
                  15%                                               SusE 9
                                                                    Windows 2000
                          12%                                       Windows XP

The respondents who chose “Other” listed the following answers:
    Sci Linux
    Linux Slackware 10
    Fermi Linux 3 (variation of Redhat Enterprise 3)
                                What OS do you typically use?

                      16%              12%
                                                                    Fedora Core 4
                                                8%                  Mac OS 10.3
                                                                    Mac OS 10.4
                                                                    Other (please specify)
                                                                    RedHat 9
                                                   20%              SusE 9
                                                                    Windows 2000
                                                                    Windows XP

NVOSS II (2005)                                                             Nov 2005

The respondents who chose “Other” listed the following answers:

      SunOS
      Fedora Core 3, RedHat Enterprise 3 and 4, Suse 9.2, Solaris 8,9,10
      Fedora Core 3
      Sci Linux
      Linux
      Fermi Linux 3 (variation of Redhat Enterprise 3)
      RHEL3, Mandrake 10
      Solaris
      and suse 9

                     Do you classify yourself as a developer/user/both?




NVOSS II (2005)                                                                                    Nov 2005

         What Programming language will you use to work with the VO (either as a developer or a user)?






NVOSS II (2005)                                                                   Nov 2005

2. Rating the Sessions
The survey asked student to rate each session on a scale of 1-5. The results show the av-
erage rating of each session on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the lowest score and 5 the highest.

                                                    Rating the Sessions

                                                                  1       2   3         4     5

                                  The Summer School Overall
                                  The Summer School Faculty
                                 The Summer School location
  The Summer School facilities (meeting space, food, logistics)
                                The Summer School preschool
                                  Introduction to SQL, MYSQL
                                          Introduction to XML
                                 Introduction to Web Services
                        Programming language introductions
          Summer School VO technical presentations overall
                                         Applications overview
                                            Protocols overview
                                     Introduction to VOTables
           Data access protocols (cone search, SIAP, SSAP)            ß
                                           Building VO clients
                                            Building SkyNodes
                                          Building VO services
                                           Resource metadata
                                               Registry clients
                   Data and service discovery (with python)
                                              Future of the VO
               Summer School science presentations overall
                            Using the VO for cross-correlation
                                 Using the Grid for astronomy
                                Studies of galaxies in clusters
                                        Data quality in the VO

3. Rating the Scope of the Program
Was the length of the summer school too long, too short, or just right?

Too Long              12%
Too Short             8%
Just Right            80%

Was the pace of the summer school too fast, too slow, or just right?

Too Fast          48%
Too Slow          4%
Just Right        48%

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                  Nov 2005

Was the intensity of the summer school too intense, too dilute, or just right?

Too Dense     46%
Too Dilute    4%
Just Right    50%

Should we have spent more, less, or about the same amount of time on the following top-
ics?(chart below shows average)

          Individual/group projects

                     Science Talks

     Advanced Access Protocols

        Simple Access Protocols

                  VOTables, Ucds
  Using plotting and visualization
      Using Science Applications

         Language Presentations




                                      0           5     10        15       20

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                   Nov 2005

4. On the Future of the Summer School
Should we continue to hold NVO Summer Schools?

All but one respondent answered “yes” to the question. The one who did not select “yes”
selected “don’t know”.

If so, how often?

80% of respondents said the summer school should be held once a year, and 20% said it
should be held twice a year.

Should we continue to hold NVO Summer Schools in Aspen?

84% of those responding said we should continue to hold the summer schools in Aspen,

Suggestions for alternate locations included the following:

      Tucson
      Pasadena,
      Baltimore
      Waikaloa
      Big Island, HI
      Hawaii
      AAS meetings
      NCSA/Caltech/Johns Hopkins

Would it be useful if future summer schools ran parallel sessions (e.g. server side vs. end
science user applications)?

Yes                 70%
No                  15%
Don’t know          15%

Would you come again to an NVO Summer School?

Yes                 81%
No                  0%
Not sure            19%

Would you recommend the NVO Summer School to colleagues?

All 26 respondents replied that they would recommend the NVO Summer School to their

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                         Nov 2005

Many students wrote about their experiences at the summer school in some detail. This
section contains complete quotations from the student surveys except where certain indi-
viduals were mentioned, in which case the references have been replaced with empty
brackets [].

      This was the best software oriented event I've attended. The presentations were to the
       point and covered practical and useful topics. The software provided was amazingly
       trouble free for the complexity and the variety of target platforms. The exercises with the
       software were challenging, particularly when one falls behind due to some configuration
       or documentation problem but finally reaching success was very satisfying. The student
       projects might have benefited from more suggestions from the teaching staff, maybe as-
       signing one teacher to check with the team. A great experience.

      Swell! Best astronomical software meeting ever. Please continue this important program.

      Fantastic! I have learned a lot, and have fully enjoyed the hands-on experience during
       the exercises and the project portions. I look forward to future NVO events. I would also
       wish to express how grateful I am for the financial support by the NVO and for the hard
       work by the wonderful faculty staffs that has made this experience simply awesome.

      My experience from the Summer School is definitely positive as a whole. The facilities
       worked nicely (except room wi-fi) good food, excellent rooms. As for the contents of the
       Summer School I would suggest as I also answered in your second last question about
       running parallel sessions where the science and \"software/server-side\" is run separate-
       ly, also the preschool it might have been better to have parallel-sessions begin-
       ner/intermediate-level As for myself I was very interested in the software solutions for
       providing and using the services, as it will come in very handy in our VO-related project
       starting around ADASS. As for some of the demos, the software could have been better
       setup before distribution so that less time would go to getting them to run. Thank you for
       10 very interesting days in Aspen.

      Although I put that the summer school was too dense and too fast, this is a slight exagge-
       ration. In fact it was too fast/dense at times, but just right at others. The problem come
       when something complex like WDSL is discussed and most people have never seen this
       beast. Of course if more of things like WSDL are discussed then the workshop would be
       longer, and I think making it longer would be difficult. So some kind of tradeoff has to be
       made, which is difficult. Also, some of us use more than one programming language,
       which is an important statistic to consider. For example, although I put PhP below, I also
       use perl, python, java and others. I would also like to say that I REALLY enjoyed the
       summer school in general (it was much much better than I thought it would be) and I
       hope it will continue! Thanks for all of your hard work!!

      Useful! No doubt I will be using the VO for my research from now on.

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                         Nov 2005

      Overall I very much liked it and come away *far* more knowledgeable than before. My
       comments should be taken with that into account. - Spend more time on SQL, it is *very*
       important. The [] speaker was so-so. Get someone else to do an intro and have [] do ad-
       vanced talks. The intro to web services talk totally lost me - Either make java a require-
       ment or lessen its importance in the exercises. - More project time. Half a day over 3
       days is better than 2 full days because then we get lots of evenings. Either that or move
       the dinner to before the projects begin. Still I loved it!

      It was one of my most cherished learning experiences. Truly a great event to be part of.

      I found the school very informative. I got a good introduction to the VO protocols and
       excellent tips on using the VO tools. The organization was great. I might suggest that
       you narrow the scope of the presentations a bit and spend more time going over concrete
       programming examples.

      On the first day the NVO Summer School presented material of enough value to make it
       worthwhile for UCO/Lick to have sent me. The technologies will be invaluable for the fu-
       ture of instrument development and data at Lick. The experience brought back memories
       of a pace of learning I have not had since high school.


      For me, it was a good place to learn a lot of new things. I am really surprise how fast VO
       services are growing! I hope to use these facilities a lot!

      As a user, with some intention on developing in this area, I would like to get an advice
       from the VO consortium about programming languages, and focusing in one. Also I
       would like to see more about grid technology. I was very impressed about all the pack-
       ages/ tools prepared in advance and how easily they work.

      Overall the summer school has been very valuable for me, because of the new tools I
       learned that will enhance my ability to do my science, because I am hoping to make a
       change in my functional work and this has been an important step in retooling my com-
       puter expertise, and because I wanted to learn about the current status of the project
       (e.g., level of technical maturity, examples of science successes, community acceptance,
       weak points and issues, politics, ...). I share the NVO vision at a very fundamental level,
       and have for a long time (e.g., the potential for orders of magnitude increases in science),
       and am anxious to help make it a reality. One of the challenges of such a workshop is
       meeting the needs of students with such a mixed nature of expertise, from IT experts to
       "can't teach an old dog new tricks" astronomers like me. In general I think the workshop
       matched these needs relatively well, though it may be worth considering other formats
       (e.g., parallel sessions, separate workshop for developers, users, potential users, ...). I
       think it will be important to interest more "famous" astronomers in the future, and to
       have "top ten" type science highlights that were only possible through NVO, although I
       realize that by the nature of the game it is primarily a programmers game at present (and
       we should be thankful that they are interested!). The most valuable aspects for myself
       were session showing tools like wesix, datascope, votools, tutorials where I will be able
       to go back and rerun and reuse parts for my own needs, and the science talks that helped
       put things into perspective (especially Chris Miller's IDL scripts since I am getting into

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                         Nov 2005

       IDL). The least useful things for me (but I probably the highlights for other students?)
       were the nitty-gritty details about XML, etc., although at least now I know the "lan-
       guage", and how to do some very basic hacks. The amount of bugs, time spent on path
       problems, and occasional wireless access problems, was also frustrating, and the kind of
       thing that scares away many people, but again I realize that this is generally the case for
       the "bleeding edge" of development. One last little quip - I think there should be more
       time off to enjoy the beauty of Aspen; why else hold the meeting in such a location?

      My experience of the NVO summer school was a good one. I was especially impressed
       with the pre school talks on XML and web services.

      I already knew most of the java VO things, but it was good to see how people were using
       other languages (especially python).

      Because of the NVOSS, I am able to return home far more aware of the tools, protocols
       and organization of the VO. Admittedly, I leave feeling overwhelmed by the same: the
       variety of languages and protocols. My primary commendation is to the faculty for ac-
       tually presenting so many aspects of the VO and making us aware of what can be done
       and how things are developing in the VO. The main concern/suggestion is that we
       needed more hands on time -- preschool should have a more relaxed school with a more
       seminar like format; projects should start on Sat at least with thinking about the
       teams/what to do. Many many thanks and regards!

      What a remarkable and well organized event! I do realize that I came here to get exposed
       to NVO, what I decide to do once the Summer School is over is up to me. From a Com-
       puter Science background perspective, I was in heaven. I still have ways to go to in order
       to strengthen my Astronomy background but I am getting there:) The only drawback to
       me was the internet connection, which would have come very handy to catch up with each
       session in the evenings. My only recommendation is regarding the "Programming lan-
       guage introductions". I realize it is an extreme hard challenge to teach a language in 30
       minutes. I think that the students should have a tutorial prior to attend the summer school
       and just use whatever language they are familiar with. It should/could be emphasized
       what language might work better with what NVO application (known problems feed-
       back), however once school starts, the students could get help from the instructor during
       the exercise. Conclusion: No "Programming language introductions" during school,
       more NVO tools tutorials. Also since we all platforms available, it would be helpful to
       have a very short and simple exercise, prior to attending summer school, with each VO
       Tool for testing purpose ONLY. That way, students can send feedback on what issues they
       encounter with what OS and VO tool PRIOR to summer school. My last is that some lan-
       guages require a webserver to run (Ex.PHP) I, myself have never used TOMCAT before
       and didn't know until later during the first week that more packages downloads were
       needed to make PHP work. I think it would be helpful to emphasize strongly to each stu-
       dent that they are familiar with the following: - Do you know if you have a personal web-
       server available in your machine? - Do you know how to start it? - Do you know where to
       find technical information on how to run your personal web-server? - Do you have the
       right extensions installed to view PHP pages on your localhost? - Do you know how to
       view a PHP page on your localhost properly (where is that PHP page supposed to be in-
       stalled? I bet you would receive tons of emails asking for help Well, that's it. I hope my
       feedback makes sense, helps. In any case. This was a great experience and I can't wait to
       sell it to GEMINI Observatory. And as they say in the Astronomy World, Cheers (...for

NVOSS II (2005)                                                                        Nov 2005


      Excellent school! It is hard to think of how to improve the summer school significantly
       without increasing the length of the school substantially (2 or 3 weeks -- but who has time
       for that?). Finally, Python and PHP seem to be really powerful tools for VO, and it
       probably would be worthwhile to make these (in addition to Java and MySQL) required
       software for the next NVO school.

      While the summer school program was very intense, but it covered many important topics
       that were needed to perform my research.

      I found the VO Summer School exceptionally valuable. The exposure to a suite of VO
       tools and libraries will make VO-enabling my various products and datasets much easier
       than if I had to implement from scratch. The hands-on experience overcame any initial
       resistance to starting the VO-enabling process. Thanks again for providing such a re-
       markable opportunity. Regarding this form-next year--add a text space for comments af-
       ter each section for additional/clarifying comments regarding the rankings. I found the
       ranking process bothersome. I declined to answer those items for which I have little ex-
       perience (since I am not an astronomer). One point, although I found the summer school
       “too dense" I would\'t water it down any. I suggest parallel sessions so that more depth
       could be taken on various topics.'

      I enjoyed my time at the summer school, both in a professional and personal sense. In
       particular, I thought the faculty were uniformly excellent--knowledgeable, helpful, and
       perhaps most importantly patient beyond all requirement!

      it was great! i came in with minimal knowledge of the NVO and left with a good begin-
       ning in both the technical and user side. The software packages and code examples will
       also be of great use after the school.

      The best outcome of the NVO summer school is the amount of incredibly useful informa-
       tion and resources you take away in a short period of time. The first NVO Summer School
       was great - the second was greatly improved. I was glad to see that PHP and IDL were
       added to the language/application list. Those resources really open VO standards and
       technology to areas where astronomers already use software. Chris Miller’s talk on
       science applications was great - really showed the power of what the VO can help a re-
       searcher do. The provided software package also improved and was better organized for
       maximum utility. Aspen Institute provides a great working environment. Another consid-
       eration would be to have the summer school near an area with a faster network and more
       computing infrastructure - NCSA/Caltech/Johns Hopkins...I hope to have future contact
       with people working on VO applications and to also contribute to the framework and

NVOSS II (2005)        Nov 2005

NVOSS II (2005)                                                            Nov 2005

Appendix 3. Financial Report

Running a program such as the NVO Summer School, with the long duration and in a
pleasant setting, is not inexpensive. Here we summarize our expenses and income. The
shortfall of $17,772 was covered by NVO Project contingency funds.

      Accommodations (including conference facilities,
       breakfast, lunch, and all breaks)
             Participants                                      $77,435
             Faculty                                           $24,597

       Travel reimbursements
              Participants                                     $ 6,710
              Faculty                                          $ 2,197

       Per diem support                                        $ 3,600

       Internet (DSL)                                          $ 1,615

       Supplies                                                $ 4,469

       Banquet                                                 $ 5,660

       Awards (AAS travel support)                             $ 1,000

       Misc (cancellations)                                    $   649

       Total Expenses                                          $127,932

      NSF support                                              $69,740

       NASA support                                            $20,180

       STScI 12% G&A on NASA funds                             ($2,430)

       Registration fees                                       $ 8,750

       Faculty/staff payments for accommodations               $13,920

       Total Income                                            $110,160

Net (funded from NVO Project contingency)                      ($17,772)