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The Advanced Scientific Data Format (ASDF): An Update

Perry Greenfield
Space Telescope Science Institute

Edward Slavich
Space Telescope Science Institute

William Jamieson
Space Telescope Science Institute

Nadia Dencheva
Space Telescope Science Institute


We report on progress in developing and extending the new (ASDF) format we have developed for the data from the James Webb and Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescopes since we reported on it at a previous Scipy. While the format was developed as a replacement for the long-standard FITS format used in astronomy, it is quite generic and not restricted to use with astronomical data. We will briefly review the format, and extensions and changes made to the standard itself, as well as to the reference Python implementation we have developed to support it. The standard itself has been clarified in a number of respects. Recent improvements to the Python implementation include an improved framework for conversion between complex Python objects and ASDF, better control of the configuration of extensions supported and versioning of extensions, tools for display and searching of the structured metadata, better developer documentation, tutorials, and a more maintainable and flexible schema system. This has included a reorganization of the components to make the standard free from astronomical assumptions. A important motivator for the format was the ability to support serializing functional transforms in multiple dimensions as well as expressions built out of such transforms, which has now been implemented. More generalized compression schemes are now enabled. We are currently working on adding chunking support and will discuss our plan for further enhancements.


data formats, standards, world coordinate systems, yaml



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