Hack Day at  AAS 223 in Washington, DC

Thursday, Jan 9 2014 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM; National Harbor 6/7 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)

NOTE: Room changed from what is in the printed schedule. National Harbor 6/7 is the new room

We are asking and expecting all Hack Day participants to plan on staying for most of the day.

What is a hack day?

We are going to get together to write code or work on some other project, fast. The idea is to design a do-able project and fully execute it in one day. Or at least go down trying. Come with a project, or come with deployable skills, ready to deploy.

Examples of hacks from DotAstro conferences: DotAstro 2012 Hacks, .Astro 4 unconference proceedings

Examples of hacks from last year: Fund me Maybe? video, Astrobetter airline guide, Summary of AAS 221 Hack Day

Project ideas

  • How about a hat full of blog post/wiki page ideas that anyone can walk in and draw from. Then AstroBetter editors can be around to help. Interested: Kelle, Emily

    • How to make a personal webpage - This is actually not as obvious as it should be! What are the best tools? Self-hosting vs. Institutional hosting.
    • How to search current educational research publications - Any time I write a teaching plan or broader impacts statement, I wish I knew how to better find new and relevant publications on science education. (Note: there is a poster on a new site called 'Edubites', 248.01, maybe this could be a good option to mention?)
    • Observatory FAQ - Everything you wanted to know about a particular observatory and couldn't easily find on their webpages (local travel info (rent a car, use a vehicle, or take a shuttle?), cost of the dorms (useful for writing funding proposals), what to bring (I have yet to find a hair dryer at an observatory dorm!), facilities, food quality, etc
  • arXiv reader / private library integration: an interface to read the daily arXiv that allows checking off papers to save for later and file them into user-defined categories (like "galaxy clustering," "need to reference in next paper," etc).  Maybe interface this with the ADS private library feature. The idea is to have something lightweight (it could store the categories and paper identifiers/DOIs locally, or in your dropbox). Paper management systems like Papers or Mendeley allow filing but I think you generally have to download the PDFs, so it doesn't integrate well with the daily scan of arXiv. Also it would be nice to store a non-proprietary format.  Could possibly integrate with Vox Charta?  (Ben)
  • I (Jessica Lu) have some code that pulls together several stellar evolution models, interpolates them, spits out a library of isochrones, etc. There are some existing website that do this for a single set of models, but nothing that does it across multiple models. I would love to get the code in a more generic state and possibly write a web service. Ideally it would be modular so that future model grids could easily be plugged in. Anyone from atpy interested in helping out? We started this at last year's hack day. See the astropy-affiliated package called PopStar. Feel free to branch and build off of this.
  • Same as above but for stellar atmosphere models. There is an excellent code package called pysynphot that does this for you... I am wondering if a web-service on top of this would be useful. — I have written a single Python class for this type of thing which I find to be quite handy. Parser written for Castelli/Kurucz model atmospheres. Could easily be expanded on, including a parser for MARCs models/similar. Gist here: https://gist.github.com/4014140 — Andy Casey

    • I've got a python parser that takes MARCS -> MOOG style, at the very least the filename parser would help to save some minutes.  I always thought it'd be nice to have a centralized set of parsers to translate PHOENIX/Kurucz/MARCS/MOOG/whatever atmospheres -> uber format -> whichever you desire.  Each atmosphere has to contain the necessary information to be translated to any other, right?  It'd make it a heck of a lot easier to check results against different grids (inspired by C. Helling's talk at the last Cool Stars for those who saw it) — Ryan Hamilton (I'll get to the hack day late, my dissertation talk is that morning)
    • I have python functions for creating files that are easy for MOOG to read/run. I also have code for running MOOG and parsing the output. MOOG is useful, especially for generating model spectra. Often this is to optimize the best fit, so it's desired to test many models really quickly but needing to write to disk between each step is SLOW! Is there any interest in re-writing parts of MOOG or fwrap-ing into Python (C/Cython for speed in parts)? - Dylan Gregersen
  • Twitter astronomer  account/website - each week features a different astronomer tweeting from the account in the vein of AstroCanada - I would like to have a website for signup, post the schedule/topic for the week, and perhaps have a way of non-twitter people asking questions that can be answered during the week both on twitter and on the website. Also would like to integrate it into facebook automatically. (Meg - should note I have no web skills so looking for people who can with this kind of setup - seems like this would pretty easy in wordpress) (idea help from Kelle and Emily )
  • Set up Astronomy on Tap website (Meg - thinking wordpress but have never set that up just used wodpress blogs already set up for me)
  • How about an iterative detrender for strictly periodic signals? We can think of the data from a strictly periodic source as the sum of (1) strictly periodic signal, (2) gaussian noise, and (3) remaining signal+noise (instrumental, astrophysical, ...). We could write a little iterative script that will disentangle strictly periodic system + gaussian noise from everything else. The idea is to create a template for the strictly periodic signal as a probability density function. That density function is the generating model for every single cycle, and everything else is ... well, everything else. Stepping through all available cycles will modify the PDF of that strictly periodic signal under the constraint of being constant across all cycles,  and as a by-product determining the remaining signal that is not strictly periodic and will vary from cycle to cycle. The modification of the periodic PDF will be done iteratively, by minimizing an imposed cost function (something analogous to differential corrections). This should be easily prototypable in one day. If it works, you can imagine the slew of applications for EB science — detrending, removing spots, pulsations, .... (Andrej)
  • Python software of data reduction for citizen science: It is very common for most amateurs and citizens' to take astronomical photos using DSLR, Webcam and CCD. There are a huge amount of photos of comets, asteroids, Sun, artificial satellites, planets and their satellites. These photos could be the original materials for scientific research especially about the solar system. However, few of them are well calibrated for scientific research. The softwares used by astrophotographers are usually designed for photography in Windows. Meanwhile, there are many astronomical softwares in Linux designed for certain big telescopes rather than for amateurs. Thus it is necessary to design a software for the data reduction of non-fits and fits photos in both Linux and Windows. I have noticed some useful python codes which could help us to complete this project quickly. For example, AsPyLib, Alsvid and eXe for FITS image processing, alipy for image stacking etc. I am not very good at python, but I think it would be easy to write a small software. Finally, this software should have these functions: transform between different formats and fits, calibrate fits, align fits, stack fits, detect moving objects and variable sources, ... (Fabo)
  • Python Task GUI wrapper (think PyRAF's epar window for stand-alone scripts): The PyRAF GUI (and original IRAF epar interface) got one thing right: you can see all the parameters for a task at a glance, along with defaults and descriptions. I'm imagining a Python library that makes generating interfaces for standalone single-function tools dead simple. (In the work I've been doing recently, I've been creating a bunch of simple PyRAF tasks for ease of sharing among my research group, and it would be nice to have something like the epar interface but without the overhead of a complete PyRAF install.) With luck, I think this could be pulled off in a day of hacking. (Joseph)
  • Astro4Astro  - Aggregated content for professional astronomers (Kelle & Ellie)
  • Cluster talks and posters automatically with machine learning (Adrian-ish)
  • Tooltips in matplotlib/D3T (Jake)
  • Embedding interactive d3po-style graphics in presentations. I want to explore sane ways to embed interactive plots (as seen in Alyssa Goodman's plenary) in talks. I've put together an extremely crude HTML demo here. TBD is whether anyone else wants to write their talks in HTML or whether we need to figure out a way to fit this stuff inside Keynote. (Peter)
  •  SIMBAD App (Angie)
  • Astro-themed outreach games (puzzle about science)
  • MCMC Deconvolution of 1D Spectra (Jonathan)

Participant skills and interests


  • Kelle Cruz (Hunter College & AMNH): information sharing
  • Fabo Feng (MPIA): R, Python, Bayesian inference, time series, AMUSE, astrophotography
  • Dan Foreman-Mackey (NYU): coding of all sorts (web & science), Kepler data
  • Alex Hagen (PSU): Python, a wee bit of R, astrostats, high-z galaxies and SED fitting
  • David W. Hogg (NYU): Python, SDSS data, Kepler data, probabilistic inference
  • Dylan Gregersen (UofU): Python, Fortran, JavaScript, IDL. Spectroscopy. Interested in creating apps. 
  • Joseph Long (Pomona College): Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, some C/C++
  • Katja Poppenhaeger (CfA): Python, X-ray photometry & spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy
  • Andrej Prša (Villanova): C, Python, computational astrophysics
  • Meg Schwamb (ASIAA):  Python,IDL, citizen science
  • Benjamin Weiner (Arizona): spectroscopy, statistics, pipelines, some IDL/Python/C/Fortran
  • Peter K. G. Williams (CfA): science and webby coding in many languages, Git, (radio) interferometry, beautiful documents and figures
  • C.K. Chan (Steward): C/C++, CUDA, OpenCL, etc

Twitter Lists and Hashtags

We're using #hackAAS tag for all tweets related to the Hack Day

Page last modified on Monday 03 of February, 2014 01:23:48 EST