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Workshop on Service Composition for Data Exploration in the Virtual Observatory
12-15 July 2004


The first generation Virtual Observatory will provide the plumbing to federate many large astronomical data resources. The next challenge will be to facilitate the scientific exploitation of this federation of multiwavelength data through provision of data exploration services. By this we mean the coupling of statistical data mining, grid computing, and visualization for the identification of clusters, outliers, correlations, and patterns, possibly in data sets of high dimensionality.

The Service Composition for Data Exploration in the Virtual Observatory (SC4DEVO) project is one of four initiatives funded by the UK e-Science Core Programme to foster collaboration between international e-science "sister projects". It will bring together those actively working in the data exploration and service composition areas, with a view to understanding the infrastructure requirements of data exploration specifically for astronomical data, but also in a wider e-Science context.

This first SC4DEVO workshop will define the scope of the project and develop its workplan. It will do this through providing input to a document which will identify science requirements and summarize current and planned work. We also expect to begin the process of standardizing interfaces to the compute services, just as the VO effort has started to standarize data services.

We hope that these joint UK/US/Australia workshops will synthesize a common vision of data exploration that fits with the service model now crystallizing in the Grid community. We expect the results to be not just fresh international collaborations, but also the service-oriented viewpoint that will be the next front for the Virtual Observatory. We also expect to build a basis for solicitations by the respective government funding agencies.

See also the document What is the Virtual Observatory? (pdf file) - a briefing note providing additional background to SC4DEVO-1.

Organizational Details

The SC4DEVO project is led by Bob Mann (U. Edinburgh, rgm @ roe.ac.uk ) and the local organiser for the SC4DEVO-1 workshop is Roy Williams (Caltech, roy @ cacr.caltech.edu ).

The SC4DEVO-1 workshop will run from lunchtime on Monday, July 12 to late afternoon on Thursday, July 15. This will be a small, informal workshop (max. 20-25 people), with a programme that allows plenty of time between talks for discussion. Some financial support for meals, etc, will be provided by the workshop organisers, but reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs can only be made to those named on the original SC4DEVO grant application. A draft agenda is available here.

The meeting will be held in the Powell-Booth Laboratory for Computational Science, Building 79 on the Caltech campus.


A limited number of rooms is reserved at the Athenaeum, the Caltech faculty club, for check-in on July 10th or after and check-out on July 16th or before. The rate for these is $95 per night, and they are booked under Center for Advanced Computing Research, with confirmation number 7032233. You can reserve one of these rooms by calling the Athenaeum front desk on +1 626 395 8200. The local contact for your booking is Sarah Emery Bunn from CACR (sarah @ cacr.caltech.edu).

Hotels close to Caltech include the following: