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RFBR Grant 04-07-90083-

Development of principles and fundamentals of the information interoperability in the infrastructure of the Russian Virtual Observatory (VOINFRA)

Project starting date

April 2004

Project duration

9 months

Project co-ordinator

Victor Zakharov, Institute of Informatics Problems RAS, Moscow, Russia


  • Institute of Informatics Problems RAS
  • Special Astrophysical Observatory RAS


The project is dedicated to the analysis of the Russian Virtual Observatory (RVO) information infrastructure as one of the first steps in achieving the objectives of RVO. RVOII is aimed at representation of information in various problem domains of astronomy to support scientific research. The main result of the project is the report analyzing the Russian Virtual Observatory information infrastructure (RVOII). RVOII is aimed at representation of information in various problem domains of astronomy to support scientific research. The report starts with a list of RVO objectives that were taken into account for the RVOII project. Basic concepts of representation of problem domains in natural sciences are discussed. A brief analysis of different kinds of astronomical information resources, including surveys and catalogs in optic, infrared and radio spectral ranges, archives of observations, centers of astronomical data, as well as robotic telescopes, is provided. In this analysis the astronomical resources of Russia are given separately. The report gives significant attention to the analysis of the state and decisions of the advanced Virtual Observatory (VO) projects (NVO, AstroGrid, Euro-VO). Analysis of classes of astronomical research problems that should be supported by RVOII constitutes an important part of the report. The report provides a detailed analysis of the modeling, technological and architectural recommendations of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). Complementary to the IVOA architecture and standards, for RVOII new components are proposed: subject mediators that should provide scientists with facilities for problem definition and solving over multiple heterogeneous information resources, digital libraries for astronomical science education, robotic telescopes as specific information resources. The report shows that introduction of the subject mediator concept can provide for more consistent treatment of the IVOA data modeling, data access level and other activities. An approach for the subject mediator architecture is defined, an example of a mediator for distant galaxy discovery is given. Based on the analysis performed, the information architecture of RVO has been defined. Various kinds of the RVO activities to be supported by RVOII have been identified. An analysis of correspondence and sufficiency of the IVOA standards for the identified RVO activities has been undertaken. Significant number of activities has been identified that are not supported by any standard. Another kind of analysis consisted in identification of existing components that can be re-used for RVOII implementation. Around 50 open components have been identified and recommended for RVOII. Basic RVOII principles have been formulated. The RVO Information Infrastructure has been specified. The conceptual infrastructure for the initial RVO prototype with two data centers has been proposed. Structure of the detailed work packages for the RVOII development according to the five directions identified has been specified. The work program presupposes creation of working groups for each of the directions identified. Strategically the program of the RVOII development assumes tight coordination of work with International VO activities. In particular, the work program presupposes participation of the RVOII developers in the IVOA Working Groups.

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