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    The attenuation of Lyα photons by neutral hydrogen in the intergalactic medium (IGM) at z ≳ 5 continues to be a powerful probe for studying the epoch of reionization. Given a framework to estimate the intrinsic (true) Lyα emission of high-z sources, one can infer the ionization state of the IGM during reionization. In this work, we use the enlarged XQR-30 sample of 42 high-resolution and high signal-to-noise quasar spectra between $5.8\lesssim \, z\lesssim \, 6.6$ obtained with VLT/X-shooter to place constraints on the IGM neutral fraction. This is achieved using our existing Bayesian QSO reconstruction framework which accounts for uncertainties such as the: (i) posterior distribution of predicted intrinsic Lyα emission profiles (obtained via covariance matrix reconstruction of the Lyα and N v emission lines from unattenuated high-ionization emission line profiles; C iv, Si iv  + O iv], and C iii]) and (ii) distribution of ionized regions within the IGM using synthetic damping wing profiles drawn from a 1.63 Gpc3 reionization simulation. Following careful quality control, we used 23 of the 42 available QSOs to obtain constraints/limits on the IGM neutral fraction during the tail-end of reionization. Our median and 68th percentile constraints on the IGM neutral fraction are: $0.20\substack{+0.14 -0.12}$ and $0.29\substack{+0.14 -0.13}$ at z = 6.15 and 6.35. Further, we also report 68th percentile upper limits of $\bar{x}_{\mathrm{H\, {\small I}}{}} \lt 0.21$, 0.20, 0.21, and 0.18 at z = 5.8, 5.95, 6.05, and 6.55. These results imply reionization is still ongoing at $5.8\lesssim \, z\lesssim \, 6.55$, consistent with previous results from XQR-30 (dark fraction and Lyα forest) along with other observational probes considered in the literature.

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  2. We present MSDBench – a set of benchmarks designed to illuminate the effects of deployment choices and operating system ab- stractions on microservices performance in IoT settings. The microser- vices architecture has emerged as a mainstay set of design principles for cloud-hosted, network-facing applications. Their utility as a design pattern for “The Internet of Things” (IoT) is less well understood. We use MSDBench to show the performance impacts of different deploy- ment choices and isolation domain assignments for Linux and Ambience, an experimental operating system specifically designed to support mi- croservices for IoT. These results indicate that deployment choices can have a dramatic impact on microservices performance, and thus, MSD- Bench is a useful tool for developers and researchers in this space. 
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  3. We present bolometric luminosities, black hole masses, and Eddington ratios for 42 luminous quasars at z  ≳ 6 using high signal-to-noise ratio VLT/X-shooter spectra, acquired as part of the enlarged ESO Large Programme XQR-30 . In particular, we derived the bolometric luminosities from the rest-frame 3000 Å luminosities using a bolometric correction from the literature, as well as the black hole masses by modeling the spectral regions around the C  IV 1549 Å and the Mg  II 2798 Å emission lines, with scaling relations calibrated in the Local Universe. We find that the black hole masses derived from both emission lines are in the same range and the scatter of the measurements agrees with expectations from the scaling relations. The Mg  II -derived masses are between ∼(0.8−12) ×10 9   M ⊙ and the derived Eddington ratios are within ∼0.13−1.73, with a mean (median) of 0.84(0.72). By comparing the total sample of quasars at z  > 5.8, from this work and from the literature, to a bolometric luminosity distribution-matched sample at z  ∼ 1.5, we find that quasars at high redshift host slightly less massive black holes, which accrete slightly more rapidly than those at lower z , with a difference in the mean Eddington ratios of the two samples of ∼0.27. These findings are in agreement with the results of recent works in the literature. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  4. Water vapor (H2O) is one of the brightest molecular emitters after carbon monoxide (CO) in galaxies with high infrared (IR) luminosity, allowing us to investigate the warm and dense phase of the interstellar medium (ISM) where star formation occurs. However, due to the complexity of its radiative spectrum, H2O is not frequently exploited as an ISM tracer in distant galaxies. Therefore, H2O studies of the warm and dense gas at high-zremain largely unexplored. In this work, we present observations conducted with the Northern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) toward threez > 6 IR-bright quasarsJ2310+1855,J1148+5251, andJ0439+1634targeted in their multiple para- and ortho-H2O transitions (312 − 303, 111 − 000, 220 − 211, and 422 − 413), as well as their far-IR (FIR) dust continuum. By combining our data with previous measurements from the literature, we estimated the dust masses and temperatures, continuum optical depths, IR luminosities, and star formation rates (SFR) from the FIR continuum. We modeled the H2O lines using the MOLPOP-CEP radiative transfer code, finding that water vapor lines in our quasar host galaxies are primarily excited in the warm, dense (with a gas kinetic temperature and density ofTkin = 50 K,nH2 ∼ 104.5 − 105 cm−3) molecular medium with a water vapor column density ofNH2O ∼ 2 × 1017 − 3 × 1018 cm−3. High-JH2O lines are mainly radiatively pumped by the intense optically-thin far-IR radiation field associated with a warm dust component at temperatures ofTdust ∼ 80 − 190 K that account for < 5 − 10% of the total dust mass. In the case of J2310+1855, our analysis points to a relatively high value of the continuum optical depth at 100 μm (τ100 ∼ 1). Our results are in agreement with expectations based on the H2O spectral line energy distribution of local and high-zultra-luminous IR galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN). The analysis of the Boltzmann diagrams highlights the interplay between collisions and IR pumping in populating the high H2O energy levels and it allows us to directly compare the excitation conditions in the targeted quasar host galaxies. In addition, the observations enable us to sample the high-luminosity part of the H2O–total-IR (TIR) luminosity relations (LH2O − LTIR). Overall, our results point to supralinear trends that suggest H2O–TIR relations are likely driven by IR pumping, rather than the mere co-spatiality between the FIR continuum- and line-emitting regions. The observedLH2O/LTIRratios in ourz > 6 quasars do not show any strong deviations with respect to those measured in star-forming galaxies and AGN at lower redshifts. This supports the notion that H2O can be likely used to trace the star formation activity buried deep within the dense molecular clouds.

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    Intervening metal absorption lines in the spectra of z ≳ 6 quasars are fundamental probes of the ionization state and chemical composition of circumgalactic and intergalactic gas near the end of the reionization epoch. Large absorber samples are required to robustly measure typical absorber properties and to refine models of the synthesis, transport, and ionization of metals in the early Universe. The Ultimate XSHOOTER legacy survey of quasars at z ∼ 5.8–6.6 (XQR-30) has obtained high signal-to-noise spectra of 30 luminous quasars, nearly quadrupling the existing sample of 12 high quality z ∼ 6 quasar spectra. We use this unprecedented sample to construct a catalogue of 778 systems showing absorption in one or more of Mg ii (360 systems), Fe ii (184), C ii (46), C iv (479), Si iv (127), and N v (13) which span 2 ≲ z ≲ 6.5. This catalogue significantly expands on existing samples of z ≳ 5 absorbers, especially for C iv and Si iv which are important probes of the ionizing photon background at high redshift. The sample is 50 per cent (90 per cent) complete for rest-frame equivalent widths W ≳ 0.03 Å (0.09 Å). We publicly release the absorber catalogue along with completeness statistics and a python script to compute the absorption search path for different ions and redshift ranges. This data set is a key legacy resource for studies of enriched gas from the era of galaxy assembly to cosmic noon, and paves the way for even higher redshift studies with JWST and 30 m-class telescopes.

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