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The AT&T Bell labs singledish radio astronomy data reduction package
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bin The one true comb circa 2001 Nov 19, 2019
doc update README Dec 10, 2019
lib The one true comb circa 2001 Nov 19, 2019
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READ_ME The one true comb circa 2001 Nov 19, 2019
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This is the archive of source code for comb, the AT&T Bell Labs singledish radio astronomy spectral line data reduction and analysis package. By the way, it is pronounced like the first syllable of "combine" (from whence the name derives - combining spectra), not like the hair styling implement!


Comb was actively developed and maintained from the mid 1980s to ~2004 by Robert W. Wilson, Marc W. Pound, Antony A. Stark, and others. Comb was originally written in Fortran and ported to C in the late 1980s mostly by use of f2c. comb had its own plotting library which supported most common graphics devices. As a grad student in the early 1990s, Pound modified the code to work natively with raw data from NRAO 12-m telescope (and installed it on-site), created general help and news commands, and developed a distribution system of annual releases with a self-install script, all of which significantly increased the uptake of the code. At its peak, comb was installed on several architectures at dozens of institutions worldwide in support of data reduction from many singledish telescopes including Bell Labs 7-m, NRAO 12-m, DSN 70m, FCRAO 14-m, Arecibo, AST/RO, SEST, BIMA, STO. It's most recent incarnation was for use with the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory in 2011-12, where Chris Martin moved it into a (now-defunct) CVS repository and made changes to allow comb to work on OSX and link to cfitsio and X11 (partly done when he was at AST/RO). A cookbook was written in 1990, available in the doc subdirectory. The no-longer updated comb information page is at

Comb has not been compiled by me recently on a modern 64-bit architecture. In 2011, I got the STO version working with gcc -m32. I still have a working 32-bit binary from 2001 that I copy around as a change computers. That will all end soon.

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