CTA Science Gateway

In the framework of the CTA Data Management group (CTA-DM), INAF-OACT developed a science gateway and an interactive desktop connected to the federated authentication and authorization infrastructure (INAF CTA AAI). The science gateway leverages open source technologies providing web access to a set of tools and services widely used by the CTA community.

The figure below shows the INAF CTA workspace.

Figure 1 INAF CTA Workspace


The INAF CTA science gateway is based on the Liferay platform and integrates a workflow management system (WMS) based on WS-PGRADE/gUSE. The WMS seamlessly enables the execution of astronomical and physics workflows (and jobs) on major platforms such as DIRAC (Distributed Infrastructure with Remote Agent Control) INTERWARE, ARC (Advanced Resource Connector), Globus, gLite, UNICORE (Uniform Interface to Computing Resources), PBS as well as web services or clouds.

The web-desktop environment is titled as Astronomical & Physics Cloud Interactive Desktop (ACID). It allows to use many software packages without any installation on local desktops exploiting their native graphical user interface. It employs an ad hoc VNC-based environment that provides each user with a persistent staging area.



A demonstrator has been implemented to show the main features of the science gateway to the CTA community. It follows a typical Fermi analysis performed with the Fermi Science Tools. Two analysis chains (BINNED and UNBINNED) are available and should give similar results. The two chains have few steps in common (such as the ones performed for the pre-processing, see Figure below). These chains are standard analysis steps for CTA analysis.

Figure 2 Pre-Processing and Post-Processing steps  for CTA analysis

Video tutorial



  • E. Sciacca et al. Services and a distributed infrastructure pilot for the Cherenkov Telescope Array, DI4R2016, 28-30 September, Krakow, Poland
  • A. Costa et al. An Innovative Workspace for The Cherenkov Telescope Array, IWSG2016, 8-10 June, Rome, Italy
  • A. Costa et al. Science Gateway: INAF science gateway and A&A prototype, La Palma CTA Consortium Meeting November 2017 https://indico.cta-observatory.org/event/1362/sessions/2215/#20171106


  • Costa, Alessandro, et al. "An innovative science gateway for the Cherenkov Telescope Array." Journal of Grid Computing 13.4 (2015): 547-559.
  • Massimino, Pietro, et al. "Acid: an interactive desktop for CTA science gateway." Science Gateways (IWSG), 2014 6th International Workshop on. IEEE, 2014.
  • Massimino, P., et al. "ACID Astronomical and Physics Cloud Interactive Desktop: A Prototype of VUI for CTA Science Gateway." Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXIII. Vol. 485. 2014.
  • Costa, et al. “An Innovative Workspace for the Cherenkov Telescope Array”. ceur-ws.org vol 1871 (2016)

Alternative science gateway frameworks include Catania SG, Distributed Application Runtime Environment (DARE), and Hubzero. The Catania SG framework is built within the Liferay portal framework and enables its users to manage their data and computing on various distributed infrastructures. The Distributed Application Runtime Environment (DARE) provides the key functionality of job and data management on heterogeneous distributed resources using a pilot-based abstraction layer based on the Simple API for Grid Applications (SAGA). These two frameworks do not support any WMS. HUBzero provides a platform to scientific communities to collaborate and share information, and to develop and run simulation and modeling tools on cyber-infrastructures for education and research purposes. It can integrate Pegasus as WMS that, unlike WS-PGRADE/gUSE, relies on other tools for high-level workflow management thus increasing the complexity for use. 

The INAF CTA Science Gateway relies on well-established technologies that have been proved to be successful in many areas related to astrophysics such as: scientific visualization, cosmological simulations, stellar evolution and star formation studies. Many user communities have exploited these technologies as discussed e.g. in the following paper:

  • Becciani U., Sciacca E., Costa A., Massimino P., Pistagna C., Riggi S., Vitello F., Petta C.,Bandieramonte M. and Krokos M. (2015), Science gateway technologies for the astrophysics community, Concurrency Computat.: Pract. Exper., 27, pages 306–327, doi: 10.1002/cpe.3255

Contact Persons

  • Alessandro Costa, INAF-OACT,
  • Eva Sciacca, INAF-OACT
  • Fabio Vitello, INAF-OACT,