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Process steps

Here is a technical description of the process steps at QC Garching required to refresh the Health Check (HC) Monitor daily.

Each operational machine processing data from a Paranal instrument has a cronjob creating and updating the Health Check plots.

This cronjob has three main components:

  • a cronjob workflow tool [autoDaily]
  • a scoring tool [scoreQC]
  • a plotter [trendPlotter]
Workflow tool (autoDaily)

This workflow tool is called once per hour. It downloads all headers of the current date, creates reports, and downloads any new calibration data. These are exposed to an association engine which creates ABs (association blocks) which are the fundamental processing unit for QC (they correspond to the reduction blocks RBs or set of files SOFs). These ABs are pipeline processed. Next, QC1 parameters are extracted and ingested into the QC database. Finally, the tool scoreQC derives scores based on configured thresholds. They help to assess the quality of the products.

Any failed AB is attempted to be processed one hour later. Failures can occur because of data are not yet available in NGAS, or for other reasons.


Scoring is a central concept for QC: products arequality-checked by evaluating their QC1 parameters and deriving scores. They bare based on configured thresholds. This process is fully automatic.

The thresholds can be fixed values (e.g. specifications), or relative values (like +/- 10% around the mean which is calculated from the trending). Scores are very efficient in reducing information to its relevant core. Scores are aggregated into a final score for each product, further to report scores, report group scores and finally an instrument score.

[The on-site extracted QC1 parameters known as opslog data are de-commissioned since December 2014.]


The next and final step is to plot the QC parameters and create trending plots.  There is usually one trending plot per QC item. Find an example here.

The HC reports come in two varieties, the graphical view and the score-based view (quick-look).

The PSO data points are always plotted as blue circles, to distinguish them from the data points produced by QC Garching. Only the latest PSO data points show up.

The plots are converted into png format and fed into the web site http://www.eso.org/HEALTH.

Information about the content of the plots is documented here.