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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 36 - May 2010

3D SIEminar! A new 3DTV camera: demonstration and AO applications by José M. Rodríguez Ramos (ULL) on May 5th, 10:30

The CAFADIS project has consisted in building a 3D high-definition real-time camera and it has also spawned two prototypes that can show the recorded scene in an autostereoscopic television (3D without the need of special glasses). In this special SIEminar José M. Rodríguez Ramos (the CAFADIS IP) will show us the prototypes (building these needs a complicated assembly during the previous day), which use highly specialised electronic technology, namely Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). He will also explain its applications in the field of Adapative Optics and 3D cinema and TV. More details can be found at the SIE talks and courses webpage.


teTeX, the implementation of TeX/LaTeX we had here at the IAC, has been recently replaced by TeXLive. Support of teTeX in fact was discontinued by its author a few years ago, while TeXLive is actively maintained, offers a richer set of TeX/LaTeX packages, fonts and tools, such as LuaTeX or XeTeX, and is much easier to install and update. The migration seems to have gone unnoticed, which we interpret as a good sign that everything went well. However, there are gazillions of different latex styles and packages out there, and it's impossible to check every one of them for problems or incompatibilities. If you have tex files which require specific, non-standard styles or classes, please verify that they compile correctly under the new installation. If you are using a language other than english, also note that the "translation files" tend to change a little bit from one release to the next, and sometime they make a little surprise (like when a few years ago "Tabla" was replaced by "Cuadro", causing an uproar among students who were writing their thesis in spanish); so check it out too. Instructions about using the babel spanish style can be found in; see also for further info.

Mendeley: Academic software for bibliography creation and research paper management

As its Website says, Mendeley "is a free research management tool for desktop & web, like iTunes for research papers". It may be an excellent alternative to other similar packages such as JabRef, Zotero or BibDesk (a Mac-only application). Moreover, Mendeley is also a reseach network that allows you to connect and collaborate with fellow researchers and share information, resources and experiences: see the Mendeley website for extensive and detailed information. To launch it, type mendeley from the command line prompt (type rehash if your shell issues a "Command not found" or similar error), or use it through the Web interface (registration is required).

I need a bigger (and bigger, and bigger ...) display

Display wall
During the last weeks we have been experimenting with setups to get a Tiled Display Wall and we have managed to get a basic display wall in a 2x2 configuration working properly (see video demo). We are hoping to build a bigger version of this as a resource for all IAC researchers, but the final configuration and software stack would depend on its prospective users, so if you think you could be interested in something like this, do get in touch with us so we can discuss it further.

Condor and the usefulness of a homogeneous environment

Last month Angel visited the Observatoire de Paris in order to help them start with setting up a Condor pool. While (hopefully) they learnt something about Condor, we got an interesting perspective on very different approaches of managing the computing infrastructure. While virtually all researchers' workstations at the IAC have the same Operating System, share the same software and are centrally administered, the computers at the OBSPM are fully administered by their "owners" (they are "root" users, they have to install all software, they can install any OS they want, etc.). While there might be some advantages to the OBSPM approach, researchers there spend a lot of time solving problems which at the IAC would be solved centrally and only once. As regards Condor, the heterogeneous approach creates a lot of troubles for Condor administration, so it is very unlikely that Condor will ever fly over the OBSPM as high as it does over the IAC...

FITS format gets Pope's blessing

Well, not exactly, but a recent email sent out to the fitsbits mailing list informs that the Vatican has decided to create a digital archive of manuscripts in the Vatican Library in FITS format. It's a 10 year project that will eventually contain 40 million manuscript pages and will total 45 petabytes in size. More details in or They chose to use the FITS format over alternatives like tiff, pdf or jpg 2000 because it is a simple, free, open-source, well-documented archival format that should survive technical evolutions and still be readable well into the future.
SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 36 - May 2010 - Contact: