ALMA ALMA North American Science Advisory Committee Telecon Phone Meeting 2007, November 02

Contact Information

  • Call date: 2007-11-02 14:00 EDT or 18:00 UT (Friday)
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • USA Number: 1-866-675-5385
  • Outside USA Number: +1 517 444 6916
  • Passcode: 8445333#
  • Leaders: Andrew Baker, Chris Carilli

Melcos point Three Melco antennas are moving under ABM control. See other images and animations. See other images.


ANASAC Members (P = present):
  • Andrew Baker (Rutgers) (2008) [Chair] P
  • John Bally (U. Colorado) (2008)
  • Andrew Blain (Caltech) (2008) (ASAC Vice Chair, NA)
  • Mike Fall (Space Telescope Science Institute) (2010) P
  • Tim Heckman (Johns Hopkins) (2010)
  • Shardha Jogee (U. Texas) (2010)
  • Kelsey Johnson (U. Virginia) (2009)
  • Doug Johnstone (HIA/DAO, Victoria) (2008) P
  • Gordon Stacey (Cornell) (2009) P
  • Xavier J. Prochaska (Lick Observatory) (2010) P
  • Jacqueline van Gorkom (Columbia) (2009)
  • Alycia Weinberger (DTM) (2009)
  • Jonathan Williams (U. Hawaii) (2008) P
  • Mel Wright (UC Berkeley) (2008) P
(Bold = Member of ASAC)

  • J. Hibbard P
  • A. Wootten P
  • C. Carilli P
  • C. Brogan P
  • C. Wilson P
  • A. Russell P


1) Action Items (Carilli) Main ANASAC report from August face to face meeting. Approved. Charge 1 response (user grants) Charge 2 response (terms of reference)

Open action items:

  • ACTION: Future science meetings
    • WHO: All
    • Due: Nov 2
* Done: Baker will make suggestion. See item 5.

  • ACTION: New members
    • Who: Carilli
    • Due: Nov 2
* Done: Nov 2

  • ACTION: CASA beta testers
    • Who: Baker
    • Due: Nov 15
* Done: see item 3 below

2) Update on NAASC activities (Carilli)

  • CASA beta release user support bootcamp went well (Brogan)
  • CASA beta release external testers -- ANASAC members (Baker/Williams/Hibbard)
  • ATF tourno is in full swing (Carilli)
  • A number of new positions are being advertised -- please distribute (Carilli). (Also listed on front of NAASC homepage, along with links to ESO and JAO ALMA positions)
  • Operations plan version D has been released (to the ALMA Board only) (Hibbard). Update on Board meeting from Wootten:
    • "[The Board] approved it subject to corrections, in my understanding, of contradictions spelled out in the presentation. ... Massimo instructed me to distribute Version D to the ASAC asap. I think you should send it to the ANASAC today with an asterisk if you like. I will send it pronto to the ASAC in the version which went to the Board if I can find it.". I have put it at the following area, but will delete these by Monday, so grab them while you can:
    • Executive Summary of changes from vers C to vers D (pdf)
    • ALMA Ops Plan, vers D (pdf)
  • Canadian MOU is in final iteration (Carilli)

Casa bootcamp went well -- 15 international trainees for CASA user support Casa tester volunteers -- to use CASA and learn and provide feedback. need 3 folks from ANASAC or related. Williams volunteered a grad student. Wilson also. ATF - carilli has been naasc rep at atf. close to dyn fringes. Jobs -- check 'em out. Also need new CASA leader.

3) Update on ASAC (Blain)

Report by Johnstone -- they are considering 3 charges as linked. They will also be going to santiago for meetings in the next few cycles. They are considering role of ASAC during opereations.

4) Charges from face to face (Baker)

The final response from NRAO to the ANASAC report of August 2007 can be found in the attachment below.

Baker reviewed issue and said NSF is starting a working group to consider this, and have said that in AS news letter. Committee will panchromatic. No timeline. We also need to plug into the ACI at NSF. Weinberger talked to NSF controller at OMB. Response: OMB does not make division decisions.

5) ALMA Workshops (Baker/Carilli)

The science workshop for next Summer/Fall remains uncertain due to hesitation by the Planetary community. If they decide not to proceed, we need to regroup quickly. Topic discussions are welcome.

NRAO will have a townhall meeting at AAS. Agenda has not been set yet.

Possible charge for Jan 08: We can re-address the issue of community input into the development line, as discussed at face to face by Adrian Russell. Early relevance: end of antenna contract. Long term issue: community/science driven development plan.

Intro to workshops by Baker, and planetary folks have deferred to the future.

Russell explains development line: similar to Aspen process for gemini, which was good for science vision. Need ALMA context document for 2015++, during JWST etc... Panchromatic and put AMA in context. Without this, we might not get funding. Board proposal -- 4 stage process: regional, then international, Board was not receptive to starting regional. They want ASAC to run the process. First stage = science subgroups. 2nd stage = international workshop to define scientific vision + recommend instruments. stage 3 = project defines R+D required, and costing for board. some are simple, some more complicated. stage 4 = agencies then balance with other science projects. looking for agreed 5 year program. stage 5 = 'call for proposals' for implementation by the three regions. They have asked to decouple decision from adding new antennas. Still, will start deliberations 2008.

Baker -- ANASAC can propose critical scientists for input -- need good representation.

Hibbard -- can we do some regional prep prior to international meeting? answer: unclear.

Next workshops: new members say: high z galaxies! but local ISM looks interesting too. Lots of connections to JWST. 2009 looks ok = high z galaxies. But for 2008: Johnstone suggests massive star formation, or nearby galaxies. Disks meeting shied away from massive star formation and astrochem. Carilli - development workshop no longer expedient. support survey/instrument workshop remains posible. Williams - how about 'high resolution science' Fall - STScI meetings for years, and science focus is best. least successful are instrument oriented, or anticipate new instruments. best to build around active science topic. Baker - suggests: high mass SF in Gala + nearby galaxies, SSC, ULIRGs. will send out suggestion

6) ALMA Science IPT Science IPT concerns. (Wootten)

7) Date of next telecon (every second month)

  • Date of next telecon is January 18, 2008

Supplemental Material

Letter to NRAO/ALMA/EVLA Scientific Adivisory committees on CASA beta release

To the chairs of the ALMA, EVLA and NRAO Science Advisory Committees:
Jose Cernicharo <> (ASAC),
Jose Manuel Afonso <> (ESAC),
Kotaro Kohno <> (EASAC),
Andrew Baker <> (ANASAC),
David Helfand <> (SAGE),
Roger Brissenden <> (EVLA Advisory Committee),
Tracy Clark (NRAO Users Committee);

As detailed in the latest NRAO newsletter
(, there was a beta
release of the CASA (Common Astronomy Software Applications) offline
software system in October 2007. This software has been under
development in support of the ALMA and EVLA projects, and is intended to
also be of general use for radio astronomy data post-processing. This
version has significant capabilities required by the ALMA and EVLA
projects, but is still under very active development. It will support
the import of data in a number of formats, and a reasonably full set of
processing capabilities (see the beta release notes for more information on
supported observing modes and data formats).

Since the NRAO and ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs) are not yet staffed to
support a large number of user queries, we have decided on a staged
release of user support for the Beta. Therefore, initially (through
early 2008) access to the Beta will be restricted to ALMA and EVLA
project personnel and a limited number of users drawn from our
scientific advisory committees. During this period, CASA User Support
Specialists will be trained in the use of CASA in order to provide
timely and responsive support, and in turn these specialists will train
others as needed. In 2008 we plan to gradually expand the availability
of the Beta to others in the community as our user support capabilities
ramp up.

We ask that you designate up to three (3) members of your committee (or
their designees, e.g. postdocs working in their stead) as CASA Beta
testers. These testers will be sent instructions on how to register for
the Beta and obtain user support. We expect that they will exercise the
advertised capabilities of CASA (as documented in the CASA Cookbook) and
provide feedback to the projects via the CASA helpdesk. Your
participation in the evaluation of the package and our user support will
be invaluable in helping us prepare for the larger scientific community.

Please send the names and emails of your designated testers to at your earliest convenience.

Further details on the Beta release policy and software capabilities are
available at

- Nicole Radziwill (AD, Office of End to End Operations)
   Claire Chandler (Deputy AD for NM Operations; for EVLA user support)
   John Hibbard (North American ALMA Regional Center)
   Paola Andreani (European ALMA Regional Center)
   Ken Tatematsu (East Asian ALMA Regional Center)

-- ChrisCarilli - 02 Nov 2007
Topic revision: r1 - 2007-11-02, ChrisCarilli
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