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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza N. 3 - November 2005

IDL 6.2 and Mathematica 5.2

IDL 6.2 is now the default IDL version, the one you start by just typing idl, idlde, idlhelp, etc. IDL 6.2 comes with a completely new help system, which has a much nicer interface and no longer requires Acrobat Reader. If you wish to know what new features and enhancements have been implemented in this new version, launch idlhelp and read "What's new in IDL 6.2". Mathematica has been upgraded to v5.2, which is now the default version. Read about new features and improvements by launching Mathematica and clicking on "What's New in 5.2" in the Startup Palette (We skipped v5.1, as we didn't receive the installation CDs).

New Python modules, and other minor software updates

Though the Python course given a few weeks ago perhaps didn't quite meet the expectations, it nonetheless contributed to increase the interest of IAC users in this powerful scripting language. We've been happy to install, upon user request, the following Python modules in Linux: pygsl (Python interface to the GSL, which en passant has been upgraded to v1.7), pyBLD (tool to analyse scientific data), and eric3 (full featured Python Integrated Development Environment). Other software updates since the last Newsletter: GVim/KVim 6.2.14 installed in Linux; gnuplot upgraded to v4.0.0 in Linux; indexf upgraded to v3.0 in Linux; SExtractor updated to v2.4.3 in Linux and Solaris; the g95 compiler installed in Linux and Solaris.

New IAC preprint submission form

Submitting an IAC preprint has never been so easy! With the new submission form, the only thing you have to do is fill it in, and upload your postscript or PDF file. The postscript number will be generated automatically, and the preprint page updated (no more trips to our Secretariat Office to obtain the number and hand them a hardcopy). The preprint page offers an improved layout and new functionalities. Visit http://marta/inves/preprints/ This application runs in the SIE Web server for the time being, but will be installed in the new PHP+mySQL enabled IAC external server as soon as the latter is ready.

Itanium 2 Cluster at the ULL

The ULL will shortly make the official announcement of the creation of a new service, giving support for scientific computing: (their very own SIE).
The crown jewel of this service will be (for the time being) a brand new cluster made up of 64 Itanium 2 processors, which researchers at the IAC will have access to, in due time. According to, the cluster has a storage capacity larger than 10.000 GB and an aggregated performance above 300 GFlops. If you would like an account, please get in touch, and we will keep you informed on further developments.

Do you have a computer or software problem and are going to ask for help?

Receiving complete and accurate information about your problem is fundamental for us in order to solve it quickly. We would like to suggest the following tips:
  1. Always specify in what machine and operating system and version the problem occurs.
  2. Tell what commands (including all flags, arguments etc.) you typed or executed that led to the problem.
  3. Copy-and-paste the error messages you got, or describe what happened exactly (the GUI crashed, the terminal hung, an image was displayed upside-down, the PC emitted frightening noises, etc.).
  4. And please add any further information which may be of help.
SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 3 - November 2005 - Contact: