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The need for a collaborative technology infrastructure for astronomical research in Chile led five leading Chilean universities to participate in the "Astroinformatics Platform Development" project, with financing from the Fund to Promote Scientific and Technological Development (a CONICYT program).

This astroinformatics initiative, which is now completing its first year of execution, is sponsored by REUNA and ALMA with participating academics from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Universidad de Chile, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Santiago and Universidad de Concepción.

Jorge Ibsen, ALMA's Computing Department Director and member of the project’s Board said:

"The astronomy community will have tools that facilitate consultations of the data in the Virtual Observatory and extraction of relevant information for research,"

This project has enabled Chile to become a member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). This came about as the result of efforts begun in May of this year by the project director and professor at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM), Dr. Mauricio Solar, who participated in the annual IVOA meeting in Heidelberg, Germany, where he formally requested Chile's entry into the international alliance. That request was unanimously accepted at the organization's meeting held in Hawaii on September 28. Dr. Solar said:

"The astronomy community will have tools that facilitate consultations of the data in the Virtual Observatory and extraction of relevant information for research,"

The proyect director added:

"Our developments will be implemented in Chile, but the service will be available to the entire community of astronomers who want to use ALMA's astronomy data search methods as well as the data analysis and visualization tools."

This Chilean Virtual Observatory, known as ChiVO, will enable management and intelligent analysis on a large scale–close to 750 gigabytes per day–of data captured by ALMA.

Diego Mardones, a professor at Universidad de Chile and a researcher on the project, explained that the platform will be operating in 2015 and its impact

"...will grow over time, as the volume of public data from ALMA increases. This tool helps ensure that the data are actually used by astronomers from all specialties."