ALMA ALMA North American Science Advisory Committee Telecon Phone Meeting 2006-February 24

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Contact Information

  • Call date: 2006-02-24 19:00 UT (Friday)
  • Call time 14:00 ET or 19:00 UT
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • USA Number: 877-874-1919
  • Outside USA Number: +1 203-320-9891
  • Passcode: 185064
  • Leader: John Hibbard


ANASAC Members (Attendees in RED):
  • John Bally (U. Col.) (2008)
  • Andrew Baker (U. Md.) (2008)
  • Andrew Blain (Caltech) (2007)
  • Crystal Brogan (U. Hawaii) (2008)
  • Chris Carilli (NRAO) (2006)
  • Dick Crutcher (U. Ill.) (2006)
  • Xiaohui Fan (U. Az.) (2007)
  • Jason Glenn (U. Col.) (2006)
  • Mark Gurwell (CfA, Harvard) (2006)
  • Paul Ho (CfA, Harvard) (2008)
  • Doug Johnstone (HIA/DAO, Victoria) (2007)
  • Lee Mundy (U. Md) (2007)
  • Joan Najita (NOAO) (2006)
  • Jean Turner (UCLA) (2007)
  • Jonathan Williams (U. Hawaii) (2008)
  • Christine Wilson (McMaster U.) (2007)
  • Mel Wright (UC Berkeley) (2008)
  • Min Yun (U. Mass) (2006)
(Bold = Member of ASAC)

  • Fred Lo
  • Al Wootten
  • John Hibbard
  • Darrel Emerson


1) Old Business (Hibbard)

Agenda and Minutes of 06 January 2006 meeting. Minutes approved. Action items from last time:
  • ACTION: Put "Future NAASC Workshops" on Agenda for next meeting. ANASAC members think of topics. DONE--see below
  • ACTION: ANASAC members should email suggestions for new members to ASAP. Also consider who you want for Chair. DONE--see below
  • ACTION: C. Wilson to summarize ASAC recommendations before next ANASA Done--sent via email 2/22/2006
  • ACTION: add Grants Program discussion to this months agenda. DONE--see below

2) ANASAC membership turnover/new members (Crutcher)

  • Replacements (Terms expiring in February, 2009) [Partial list]
    • Chris Carilli (NRAO) X-Gal/high-z Member of ASAC
    • Todd Clancy (SSI) Planetary
    • Terry Herter (Cornell) Instrumentation/LAT
    • Kelsey Johnson (UVa) X-Gal Star clusters
    • Elizabeth Lada (UFla) Gal Star clusters
    • Alycia Weinberger (DTM) UV/Debris Disks
  • ANASAC Chair? To be done offline
  • ACTION: Find replacement Chair for ANASAC
    • WHO: F.K.Lo
    • DUE: ASAP
    • DONE:

3) Project News (Wootten)

  • NA ALMA Cost Reviews:
    • Beckwith chaired delta-cost review (extra costs associated with having two antenna contractors) on Jan 26 2006.
    • Don Hartill (Cornell) chaired in-depth NSF review of N.Am part of ALMA on Jan 30-Feb1 2006.
    • Consensus is that these went quite well. NSF director to be brief on NA ALMA on March 2nd.
  • Agreement on hiring in Chile. AUI will hire all Chilean Local Staff.
  • New NA ALMA postdoc - Tony Remijan started in Jan2006. Rob Reid (NRC) to start in the Fall. One other offer out.

4) ASAC Report (Carilli)

  • Agenda of this Tuesday's (Feb21) ASAC Telecon
  • C. Wilson sent email summary of response to charges on Wednesday Feb22.
  • CC and LM summarized charges and responses. Recognize ops planning is key. Future charge will be to examine ops in detail. The current charges:
  • Hybrid 12m Array: (two different designs for 12m dishes)
    • No fundamental problem. Main issue - increased cost in algorithm development, processing. DC worries about polarization mapping. ASAC recommends modeling by Science IPT. Science IPT hired Rob Reid to help with this. Its too late to change specs or make significant changes in designs, but not too late for small changes. DC says to coordinate with Carma, find out what they are doing. FL says ANASAC may want to address this in more detail - how to coordinate between ALMA, Carma and SMA. DC says Carma will do summer schools; these will be more hands-on than NRAO synthesis schools. NAASC could coordinate with these.
    • ACTION: Coordinate with Carma, SMA on future mm/submm schools
      • WHO: Hibbard
      • Due: In the future
      • Done:
  • Software Development
    • LM reported. ASAC was given presentation on current state of software (archive, obstool, offline, pipeline). They are concerned that software may not be accepted by community. Some recommend forcing anyone paid by ALMA to use ALMA s/w during commissioning. No real plan presented for 2008+. FL brought up issue of synergies with other s/w NRAO efforts, specifically the NRAO Proposal Submission Tool (PST). ALMA has decided to develop PST separate from EVLA b/c science requirements are different. But are they so different to warrant duplication of effort? If there is no good reason for them to be different, then they should be the same. While this is not entirely an ANASAC issue, the ANASAC should take a position on what they would prefer from a NA perspective. AW described how science and computing interact: the Science IPT and Computing IPT attend each others meetings. The Science Software Requirements committee is part of the Computing IPT. ASAC independently reviews decisions. FL wonders how this is managed. PST is just one example. He'll bring it up at the project manager level.
    • ACTION: Bring this issue up at the Project Manager level.
      • WHO: F.K. Lo
      • DUE: ?
      • DONE:
  • Cross calibration of ALMA/ACA
    • 5% relative calibration is unacceptable. There is a meeting of the calibration group on Monday to discuss this.

5) NAASC (Hibbard)

  • P. Vanden Bout stepped down as NAASC Head on Jan 1 2006.
    • A. Russell is Acting Head of NAASC
    • J. Hibbard is Acting Head of NA ARC
  • C.Brogan starts at NRAO/NAASC on Monday, March 6 2006.
  • New NAASC staffing plan available at Includes staffing ramp-up and budget for 2006-2013. Made available for NA cost reviews, but not totally blessed. Plan to hold internal review (including Canadians) before summer.
  • Discussions with Sean Dougherty, Jim Hesser, Lewis Knee & James Di Francesco (NRC) about Canadian involvement in NA ARC. Several have joined monthly NAASC organizational meetings. James is official liaison. Will probably get together at June AAS to discuss further joint efforts.
  • NAASC members will be involved in test of pipeline and offline software subsystems in the coming months. Will also participate in user interface "focus group" end of March in Socorro.
  • EPO-coordination effort underway with JAO. Desire executive-neutral ALMA presence at international meetings (IAU, Madrid). Executive-flavored presence at regional meetings can use this material as starting point.
  • JAO Ops coordination meeting planned for mid-march. 1st antenna due at OSF Q1 2007. 2nd Q4 2007. Thereafter 1 every 2mo. So plan to hire 6 ops staff by end of 2006 (see agenda for listing of proposed positions).
JH: read these on your own, and let me know of any questions

6) NAASC Grants (Hibbard)

At the June 2005 f2f meeting, the ANASAC expressed an interest in having the NAASC fund a grants program to fund work at the universities on ALMA related projects. My impression was that this would be ~few months work for faculty, postdocs or grad students on work to support ALMA science goals and generate excitement about the project (e.g., generating ALMA simulations; demonstrating ALMA observing modes; illustrating potential results from DSRPs); please correct me if I am wrong. This could be tied to an issue that came up at the January ALMA Town Meeting, where there was some discussion about supporting students work on mm/submm projects prior to ALMA operations. We have decided to start a pilot project in 2006, contingent on the eventual NRAO operations budget. We would like the ANASAC to consider how to define, solicit, select, and monitor such projects. Much of this should probably happen offline. One condition on the grants would be that the ALMA Science IPT would have to have considerable input into which projects are selected.
  • Could be in form of fellowship for grad students. Any ALMA related work would be eligible (this includes mm, submm, and/or interferometry). Decided to set up a sub-committee discuss these points and send around a proposal. The following agreed to serve on this committee - Baker, Williams, Glenn. Draft proposal in discussion with others, and present at next meeting (or before via email).
  • ACTION: Draft proposal for NAASC grants program. To include: who/what would be funded? How advertised/solicited? How selected? How monitored?
    • WHO: AB,JG,JW
    • DUE: before next telecon
    • DONE:

7) ALMA Meetings & Workshops (Hibbard/Wootten)

  • Talks from Jan2006 AAS ALMA Town Meeting are on-line at New brochure at
  • Z-Machine meeting (Jan 13-14 2006 in Charlottesville) went great. Nice job Andrew Baker and SOC. Program, pictures, and pdfs of talks/posters available online at Would like to hold similar (N~70) meetings at NAASC each year.
  • NRAO-CV has been asked to host the next Bioastronomy meeting in 2007. See email from A.Boss on agenda page. This is much larger meeting that NAASC workshop (N~240 instead of ~70) and much broader (SETI, prebiotic molecules including lower frequency work, planet formation, maybe more on the biology side). Should we consider hosting this instead of NAASC workshop in 2007? JH put this off until next time, after telecon with A. Boss. So for next time, think about meetings you would be willing to help organize.
  • Update on this item, based on discussion in NAASC and telecon with A. Boss about bioastronomy meeting: many of us in the NAASC feel that a bioastronomy meeting that has one day devoted to an ALMA level 1 science goal would not have the same intellectual capital as a 2 day workshop devoted to that topic, so if the ANASAC has good ideas and the wherewithal, we'd like to try another workshop in 2007. Whether or not bioastronomy happens would be independent of this, although we should not overlap in time.
  • Future workshop suggestions:
    • Something joint with Herschel in early 2007 (but probably in Pasadena)
    • Phase-transfer calibration (suggested by A. Wootten), but there will be a meeting on this Oct 2-4 2006 in Cambridge UK.
    • Astrochemistry/biology - but see bioastronomy meeting plans above.
    • J.Williams suggests disks - either protostellar/protoplanetary or accretion disks in general
    • other ANASAC suggestions?
    • timeframe: should avoid NRAO 50th (March? June? Oct?) and Bioastronomy (if it happens).
    • ACTION: Put workshops on agenda for next ANASAC meeting
      • WHO: Hibbard
      • DUE: before next meeting
      • DONE:
    • ACTION: Think of workshop topics for 2007 for n~70 participants to be held at NAASC, that you would be willing to be on SOC for.
      • WHO: All members
      • DUE: before next meeting
      • DONE:
  • Making the Most of the Great Observatories, 22-24 May, Hilton, Pasadena
    • NEED ALMA Speaker 10min presentation, participate in 1 hr panel discussion.Asked if anyone was going. No one responded
  • There will be an ALMA Special Session at the Calgary AAS meeting. Theme: Imaging Star Formation in the Cosmos with ALMA (see description on agenda, or AAS Webpage
  • IAU XXVI General Assembly Prague, 14-25 August 2006. There will be an ALMA booth near ESO and NRAO displays. See agenda for sessions of Particular ALMA Interest

-- JohnHibbard - 13 Mar 2006
Topic revision: r9 - 2006-03-22, JohnHibbard
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