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Published January 2017 | public
Journal Article

LigoDV-web: Providing easy, secure and universal access to a large distributed scientific data store for the LIGO scientific collaboration


Gravitational-wave observatories around the world, including the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), record a large volume of gravitational-wave output data and auxiliary data about the instruments and their environments. These data are stored at the observatory sites and distributed to computing clusters for data analysis. LigoDV-web is a web-based data viewer that provides access to data recorded at the LIGO Hanford, LIGO Livingston and GEO600 observatories, and the 40 m prototype interferometer at Caltech. The challenge addressed by this project is to provide meaningful visualizations of small data sets to anyone in the collaboration in a fast, secure and reliable manner with minimal software, hardware and training required of the end users. LigoDV-web is implemented as a Java Enterprise Application, with Shibboleth Single Sign On for authentication and authorization, and a proprietary network protocol used for data access on the back end. Collaboration members with proper credentials can request data be displayed in any of several general formats from any Internet appliance that supports a modern browser with Javascript and minimal HTML5 support, including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets. Since its inception in 2012, 634 unique users have visited the LigoDV-web website in a total of 33,861 sessions and generated a total of 139,875 plots. This infrastructure has been helpful in many analyses within the collaboration including follow-up of the data surrounding the first gravitational-wave events observed by LIGO in 2015.

Additional Information

© 2017 Elsevier. Received 3 November 2016, Accepted 16 January 2017, Available online 20 January 2017. We thank our colleagues in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration for providing many fruitful ideas, bug reports, and feature requests for LigoDV-web and for thoughtful input on this manuscript. Thanks to TJ Massinger for careful review of the manuscript leading to many improvements. This work was supported by National Science Foundation awards PHY-1104371 and PHY-0600953.

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