GSoC 2020: glue-solar project 0.1

I feel grateful for having been selected for the second time in a row to participate in GSoC with the OpenAstronomy organization with SunPy as the sub-organization. My mentors this year are Thomas Robitaille, Stuart Mumford, and Nabil Freij, whom I have come to know within the astrophysics community over the past year or so and have come to respect. I am definitely looking forward to having a summer of serious fun with glue (or glueviz) in order to develop a plugin called glue-solar for use in solar physics data visualization. But to start I simply cannot resist delving more deeply into the glue-solar project. First off, here is a link to my project description over at GSoC’s officialΒ website.

To introduce the glue-solar plugin, it is only natural to first introduce the glue package for which it operates on. As its official website would suggest, glue is a package for multi-dimensional linked-data exploration. With glue, users can generate scatter plots, histograms, and both 2D and 3D images of their own data. The package emphasizes on the brushing and linking paradigm, where selections in any graph can propagate to all others. Moreover, glue uses the existing logical links between different data sets to overlay visualizations of different datasets, and to propagate the same selections across all other data sets. To clarify, these can be spatial and temporal links. These links are specified by the user, and are designed to be arbitrarily flexible. Finally, glue is written in Python, and built on top of its standard scientific libraries (e.g., Numpy, Matplotlib, Scipy), such that users can easily integrate their own python code for data input, cleaning, and analysis, enabling full scripting capability.

Back to the glue-solar project, it is to provide a foundation for interactively exploring and quickly analyzing large datasets (100Gb or larger) in solar physics to be built in Python. This software will enable multi-instrument interactive visualisation as a plugin of glue. While a fully featured GUI toolkit for solar data is not expected to be built in one summer due to time constraint, the goal is to provide the technical building blocks, but more importantly to demonstrate, and document, how this framework can be used by various instrument teams to build custom solutions for their solar data. Glue-solar, like glue is completely free for anyone to use and is open-source. Furthermore, glue-solar is a collaboration between glue and SunPy, hence its focus on solarΒ physics.

The official start date of this year’s GSoC is June 2nd, 2020, immediately after the current community bonding period. But work has already begun and we have already opened pull requests (or PRs) at both the glue and glue-solar repos to enable loading of basic SunPy maps such as AIA and HMI data so that they can be overplotted as different colormaps. As per usual, GSoC will last for about three months, until August 25th, 2020. This summer is surely going to be filled with many fun hours of coding for both glue and glue-solar for me. I am definitely looking forward to enjoying working on my last GSoC project this year, with my amazing mentors’ guidance.