An N-body Data Interchange Format ??? (NDIF)
Thu, 29 Sep 1994 15:45:26 -0400

Fellow particle pushers,

I took the liberty of using Sverre's recent e-mail to hereby ask
interested parties from this community to participate in an e-mail
discussion of the need for a data interchange format for Nbody-type
(NBODY, SPH, PM, P3M etc.) data.

For this the following e-mail address can be used:

If you use this address, an e-mail will be sent out to all subscribers.

Currently you are on this list, and you ought to send me mail if you
want to be removed. On the other hand, I'm sure my list is not complete
yet, and I appreciate any suggestions you may have of people I should

I have also considered a newsgroup for this purpose, but I'm rather
worried we would get polluted by messages from all kinds of
peripherially interested people, and lot's of garbage. Often, such
discussion groups will loose the important people, since they get
discouraged of participating. Also, I'm aware that not many dynamicists
actually read (or have access to?) usenet. I'd be happy to receive
statistics on that.

Over the past year I have presented at 2 workshops (Tokyo and Reno) and
the just finished ADASS conference in Baltimore an idea to use the FITS
BINTABLE as a vehicle to transport data between software packages. This
has been received with quite some enthousiasm, in particular, the
observers (who have been successfully using FITS for 15 years now!) are
very keen on seeeing theoreticians to use this format.

On the other hand, some regard FITS as oldfashioned ( obviously, they
have not seen what a BINTABLE can do), and we should look at HDF,
or (net)CDF, to name a few. Of course, there will also be some that
think their own dataformat is going to be the best there is for this
purpose (I'd be the last to do that). Well, let's discuss this.

I plan to maintain a log of the upcoming discussions on the world wide
web, on URL

If you don't know what the World Wide Web is by now, I hate to say it,
find out about it and go and use it. Don't miss that boat (as ADASS
conference reviewer George Jacoby told us yesterday). Virtually all
important astronomical research is now being made accessible on the Web,
and I don't think we should have to lag in that.

In particular, if you browse around on URL

there will be a section on 'other software', where you can see that
more and more of this dynamics work is becoming available, including
some interesting graphics and simulations (movies).

Hope to hear from you soon. If you have any idea already, don't send
them to me, send them to

best regards,

Peter Teuben

PS: The above mentioned email archive will also contain the current
listing of all subscribers.