Congratulations, you have reached the home page of
Mark Beauchamp Taylor,
astronomical software programmer in the
School of Physics
Since 1998 I have been writing astronomical software,
first within the
project, then under a PPARC grant,
from 2006 to 2009 working on the
and then on STFC grants with some further funding from Microsoft Research and
from GAVO via the University of Heidelberg.
The main focus of my work is currently processing of and access to tabular data
(such as astronomical source catalogues),
and application interoperability,
particularly in the context of the
I am active (currently Applications Working Group Chair)
within the IVOA,
an international body which defines standards for the VO.
Currently Active Projects
I am currently developing and supporting the following packages:
- Tool for OPerations on Catalogues and Tables,
a viewer/editor for astronomical tabular data, including FITS table
extensions and VOTable documents.
- STIL Tool Set, a suite of command-line table manipulation tools.
- Starlink Tables Infrastructure Library,
the generic tables I/O layer underlying TOPCAT and STILTS.
- Java toolkit for use with SAMP, the Simple Applications Messaging Protocol.
- SAMP Web Profile
- SAMP profile suitable for sandboxed in-browser clients.
- Lightweight VO Registry client library.
The following is work I have done over the last few years, but
am not currently working actively on.
- SAMP/PLASTIC Applications
- I have added SAMP and PLASTIC interoperability code to the
ex-Starlink applications GAIA and SPLAT.
- A hub implementation and toolkit for the PLASTIC tool interoperability
- Yet Another Fitting tool, designed for identifying best fits between
sets of model spectra and sets of photometric observations.
The following are software items which I worked on for Starlink.
They are not now formally supported, but in some cases I am
prepared to offer informal help with them.
a graphical browser for hierarchical data structures written in Java.
It knows about Starlink NDF and HDS data structures, as well as
many other types of data like file systems, zip and jar files,
XML documents, FITS files, etc.
consists of various utility and library packages underlying TOPCAT
and friends as well as other Starlink-developed applications
such as SPLAT, SoG and FROG. Hence some of this is under active
maintenance, though not formally supported.
a data reduction package for astronomical CCD images.
Now supported for JAC users, though informal help may be available
to others. For further information see the
CCDPACK page provided by Peter Draper, the original author.
an HTML Source Code Browser for the entire Starlink software collection.
It is somewhat obsolete since it only works on pre-keoe versions
of the source archive.
Access to this service hosted in Bristol
has been withdrawn since the end of 2006.
Work related to porting the Starlink software collection to make
full use of 64-bit operating systems, which will be required for
handling multi-gigabyte data files. I've written a document
discussing the issues and proposing a strategy,
as well as some tools to help with the conversion.
INT WFC astrometric calibration
The Wide Field Camera on the Isaac Newton Telescope is a mosaic
camera consisting of four 2048 * 4096 CCDs aligned on a plane.
Careful calibration of the relative positioning and nonlinear
optical distortion is required in order to do astrometry using WFC data.
I did some work helping
in the longish-term project of converting the Starlink documentation
set into SGML (now moribund).
package for assessing how well a given machine will cope with
reduction of very large images.
VNC draft user note
explains how to use the publicly available VNC software
to use Starlink programs with high-performance Linux X displays.
Working for Captain Starlink initially at the Institute of Astronomy
in Cambridge and subsequently in the physics department in Bristol
was my first experience of astronomy; in previous lives
I have been a condensed-matter theoretical physicist and (kind of)
chemist, not to mention dabbling in Unix system administration,
scientific publishing, philosophy, and even baboon statistics,
mostly in Bristol. There's more information if you want it:
And see also:
- is a quasiharmonic lattice dynamics progam I wrote most
of while working in the Chemistry department at Bristol.
It is available for academic use. I still do a certain amount of
support for it. For more information see the
Mark Taylor --
School of Physics,
Post: H H Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue,
Bristol BS8 1TL,