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Paper: The SkyView Data Model: Handling Heterogeneous Data Using Dynamic Software
Volume: 521, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXVI
Page: 462
Authors: McGlynn, T.; McDonald, L.
Abstract: The SkyView Virtual Telescope allows users to query over 75 distinct datasets of astronomical imagery including more than 190 distinct surveys. These holdings are extraordinarily diverse ranging over more than 15 orders of magnitude in frequency and 5 orders of magnitude in resolution. To accommodate supporting these data, SkyView has developed a simple data model for surveys. Nor surprisingly, given the diverse origins of the datasets included, some surveys do not easily fit within this model. The conventional approach to dealing with such outliers is to build a layer on top of the actual data which more faithfully adheres to the data model. With SkyView we have used a somewhat alternative approach. We allow the data model to define new behaviors in the SkyView code itself either by customizing the use of existing capabilities or pointing to new classes that have non-standard behavior. This approach is feasible since in modern computer languages the code that is run can be selected dynamically with new classes completely overriding traditional behavior. This paper describes this approach and considers how it may become more useful as our software structures become increasingly dynamically linked.
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