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

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Contact Information

  • Call date: 2006-04-28 18:00 UT (Friday)
  • Call time 14:00 ET or 18:00 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) (2009)
  • Todd Clancy (SSI) (2009)
  • Xiaohui Fan (U. Az.) (2007)
  • Terry Herter (Cornell) (2009)
  • Paul Ho (CfA, Harvard) (2008)
  • Kelsey Johnson (UVa) (2009)
  • Doug Johnstone (HIA/DAO, Victoria) (2007)
  • Elizabeth Lada (UFla) (2009)
  • Lee Mundy (U. Md) (2007)
  • Jean Turner (UCLA) (2007)
  • Alycia Weinberger (DTM) (2009)
  • Jonathan Williams (U. Hawaii) (2008)
  • Christine Wilson (McMaster U.) (2007)
  • Mel Wright (UC Berkeley) (2008)
(Bold = Member of ASAC)


1) Old Business (Hibbard)

Agenda and Minutes of 24 February 2006 meeting. Approved? Action items from last time:
  • ACTION: Find replacement Chair for ANASAC
    • WHO: F.K.Lo
    • DUE: ASAP
    • DONE:
  • ACTION: Coordinate with Carma, SMA on future mm/submm school
    • WHO: Hibbard
    • Due: In the future
    • Done: This action will be on-going, and will be removed from this agenda
  • ACTION: How are synergies with other NRAO software efforts realized (e.g., PST)? Bring this issue up at the Project Manager level.
    • WHO: F.K. Lo
    • DUE: ?
    • DONE:
  • ACTION: Put workshops on agenda for next ANASAC meeting
    • WHO: Hibbard
    • DUE: before next meeting
    • DONE: 4/24/06. See below.
  • 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: Hopefully. Will be discussed today
  • ACTION: Draft proposal for NAASC grants program. To include: who/what would be funded? How advertised/solicited? How selected? How monitored?
    • WHO: AB & JW
    • DUE: before next telecon
    • DONE: 4/26/06 (see "Supporting Material"). Will be discussed today

2) Welcome new ANASAC members (Lo)

  • Replacements (Terms expiring in February, 2009)
    • 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?
  • Current dates of next few telecons:
    • 30 June 2006 2pm ET
    • 25 Aug 2006 2pm ET
    • 27 Oct 2006 2pm ET
    • 29 Dec 2006 2pm ET
  • Schedule face-2-face meeting?

3) ALMA Science IPT News (Wootten)

4) ASAC Report (Carilli)

  • Report of the ASAC to the ALMA Board on its Charges
  • Agenda of 5 April 2006 ASAC Telecon
  • New Charges from the ALMA Board: The ASAC is requested to consider the following topics, and to make recommendations to the Board that include your priority or time scale where your recommendations require expenditure of ALMA's fixed resources:
    1. Review the revised Commissioning and Science Verification Plan for ALMA
    2. Review the revised Calibration Plan for ALMA
    3. Review the existing work on developing complete descriptions of the ALMA observing modes (e.g. software, hardware etc.) and make recommendations as to their relative priority
    4. Any other matters that you want to bring to the Board's attention.
  • Agenda of next Wednesday's (May3) ASAC Telecon

5) NAASC (Hibbard)

  • New NAASC Head expected to be announced on May 1 2006.
  • C.Brogan started at NRAO/NAASC on 6 March 2006.
  • NAASC was involved in test of pipeline (J. Hibbard, E. Fomalont) and offline (J. Mangum) software subsystems in March and April. Overall, tests went well. Work on pipeline heuristics is on-going.
  • NAASC participated in user interface "focus group" March 25-30 in Socorro. First look at python interface looks promising. Discussed higher-order task bundling.
  • "Casa" (formerly aips++) has plan with NRAO EVLA/ALMA/e2e efforts to get more NRAO scientists involved with casa over the next year. Aim is to have more and more NRAO scientists using casa to reduce their own data (not by force, hopefully!). This should help waylay some concerns expressed by ASAC in last report.
  • An internal review of the NAASC Staffing plan, v0.5, was held on April 11th. Panel members included representatives from GBT Ops, NM Ops, e2e, EVLA, Fiscal, HR, the Directors Office, and NRC. Overall the response was positive. Material for review is posted at Panels comments are in document entitled "naascreview2.doc".
  • Discussions were held on April 12 with Greg Fahlman, Peter Dewdney & James Di Francesco about the role of Canada in NA ALMA operations. They will comment on the NAASC Staffing plan and get back to us with concrete suggestions.
  • Presentations on the NAASC were made to the Visiting Committee on April 18 and to NSF on April 24. We could put those online if people are interested.
  • NRAO met with NSF on April 24th. Included a presentation by Adrian Russel & J. Hibbard on NA ALMA Ops and the NAASC. NSF wants official proposal for NAASC by the end of October. Fred may want to say something more about this meeting.
  • Major milestone for the summer will be developing a refined ALMA Ops plan, including Japanese. NAASC will be very involved in this.

6) ALMA Meetings & Workshops (Hibbard)

  • Talks from Jan2006 AAS ALMA Town Meeting are on-line at
  • NRAO-CV was not selected to host the next Bioastronomy meeting in 2007.
  • Z-Machine meeting (Jan 13-14 2006 in Charlottesville) program, pictures, and pdfs of talks/posters available online at Would like to hold similar (N~70) meetings at NAASC each year. Future workshop suggestions:
    • Astrochemistry/biology
    • J.Williams suggests disks - either protostellar/protoplanetary or accretion disks in general
    • other ANASAC suggestions?
  • Making the Most of the Great Observatories, 22-24 May, Hilton, Pasadena. Carilli will give 10min presentation, participate in 1 hr panel discussion.
  • There will be an ALMA Special Session at the Calgary AAS meeting. Theme: Imaging Star Formation in the Cosmos with ALMA. Invited speakers: Blain, Turner, Johnstone. Associated poster session on T-F. See "Supporting Material" below and AAS Webpage
  • IAU XXVI General Assembly Prague, 14-25 August 2006. There will be an ALMA booth near ESO and NRAO displays.
  • Other ALMA-related meetings.

7) NAASC ALMA Science Support (Baker & Williams)

At the June 2005 f2f meeting, the ANASAC expressed an interest in having the NAASC fund a program to fund work at the universities on ALMA related projects, e.g. for generating ALMA simulations, deomonstrating ALMA observing modes, illustrating potential results for DSRPs, etc. Could be used to support student work on mm/submm and/or interferometry projects prior to ALMA operations. We are considering starting a pilot project in 2007, contingent on the eventual NRAO operations budget. Comments from Feb24 ANASAC meeting:A sub-committee was convened to discuss these points and send around a proposal. The following agreed to serve on this committee - Baker, Williams, Glenn. Draft proposal sent around 4/27/2006. See "Supporting Material" at end of agenda.

8) Other Items (add them here as you wish)

9) Next Meeting

Date of next phone meeting According to our current schedule the next one should be on: 2006-6-30 18:00 UT (Friday)

Supporting Material:

Image for Science Corner, from A. Wootten:

  • The AOS TB  Shell Done
    The AOS TB Shell is finished!
  • L* Galaxy at z=2
    From F. Combes zmachines talk: An L* galaxy at z=2
  • SMT Observation with ALMA B6 Pre-preproduction receiver.
    Ziurys has shown a SgrB2(N) spectrum at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta last week of March, obtained with an ALMA preproduction B6 front end on the SMT. This system achieved 107 K system temperature, SSB at 45 deg. elevation at 232 GHz, with greater than 20 db image rejection, good baselines.

Email from A. Baker & J. Williams on potental NAASC ALMA Science Support program.

Subject: menu of options for a NAASC grants program
From: Andrew Baker (
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 16:06:03 -0400 (EDT)
CC: Andrew Baker (, John Hibbard (


At our last telecon, the two of us volunteered to draft a proposal for a NAASC (student) grants program. After some discussion, we have opted to draw up a menu of options that can all be described as "strengthening ties between NRAO and the broader community in the context of ALMA." We would welcome your comments on these options before and during tomorrow's telecon; we assume that the ANASAC can endorse (and the NAASC pursue) whichever subset seems most sensible and fiscally feasible.

First, a couple of general principles:

  • We recommend that the NAASC prioritize grants that involve exchange of personnel over those that merely involve exchange of money. We expect that both NAASC staff and the broader community would benefit from face-to-face interaction; for the NAASC, a grants program that always transfers money out of the building and nothing back in would pose a risk of isolation.

  • We recommend that the NAASC support projects aimed directly at getting ALMA hardware and software ready, rather than doing small "precursor" science exercises with existing facilities (even if this doesn't please every member of the community). Going the latter route would be a less efficient use of NAASC resources and would set a perhaps misleading precedent for user science grants down the line.

Second, our proposed menu of options:

  • (1) Fund 1-2 week visits by NRAO personnel to community (sub)millimeter observatories. NAASC staff who will be involved in commissioning ALMA would presumably gain from interacting with the teams who brought the SMA and CARMA online. There are also common operational issues (e.g., dynamical scheduling, calibration for heterogenous arrays) on which it would be helpful for NAASC staff to learn from the community and vice-versa.

  • (2) Support 2-3 month visits to the NAASC or the ATF (and perhaps ultimately to the JAO in Santiago or even the OSF in San Pedro?) by students, postdocs, or faculty members on sabbatical who wish to work on ALMA-related projects. "Support" here could mean different things for different people, depending on overall funding availability. Students could probably be hired directly as NRAO employees; postdocs might be paid via a grant that passes through whichever institution is paying them for the other 9-10 months of the year (Dick Crutcher suggested last May that this setup would be useful for a faculty member whose grants could fund a postdoc for less than a year). Faculty members on sabbatical might receive partial salary, and would definitely receive logistical support for finding housing, etc.

  • (3) Support 2-3 months of work by community members on ALMA-related projects at their home institutions. "Support" here would again be mainly at the student/postdoc level, although offering partial summer support for faculty would be helpful in stimulating applications. This option would generally have lower priority than (2), owing to the concern discussed above and also (perhaps) to the complications of funding research at Canadian institutions with money that originates in the U.S.

  • (4) Solicit predoctoral students to work at NRAO on specific, ALMA-related thesis projects. Exploiting the framework of the existing predoc program would be appropriate for projects whose duration would be longer than 2-3 months and whose scope would be suitable for a Ph.D. thesis. A balance between scientific and technical elements would be more naturally accommodated here.

Finally, our thoughts on how to "define, solicit, select, and monitor" projects (quoting the minutes of our last telecon), especially for options (2) and (3):

  • Define: As long as they are explicitly tied to needs anticipated in ALMA project planning (e.g., the Scientific Specifications and Requirements document and the Operations Plan), projects can be defined either by the NAASC or by members of the community. A web page describing these boundary conditions and giving examples of projects that satisfy them could be put on the NAASC website.

  • Solicit: The location of the aforementioned web page should be advertised in the AAS newsletter and in NRAO mailings. People who are interested should be invited to get in touch with a specific NAASC contact (John Hibbard?) and submit 1-2 (?) page proposals for their projects to the NAASC, on a rolling basis after some initial deadline. Limiting funding to proposers from CARMA/SMA institutions only would be overly restrictive.

  • Select: NAASC staff plus community representatives (ANASAC members?) rate proposals, and whatever is rated highly is funded on a first-come, first-serve basis subject to overall funding constraints defined by NRAO. Having NAASC staff evaluate proposals means that selected projects will be responsive to real, current needs; having some community involvement means that the NAASC will be protected against accusations of favoritism.

  • Monitor: This would only be an issue for option (3). Probably assigning an NRAO contact (on the Science IPT?), identifying a local sponsor/supervisor, and requiring an end-of-project writeup would be sufficient here.

Thanks for reading all the way through this email. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Andrew Baker & Jonathan Williams

Material submitted for the ALMA special session at the calgary AAS.

Special: 29. Imaging Star Formation in the Cosmos with ALMA
Time:6/5/2006 2:30:00 PM - 6/5/2006 4:00:00 PM
Invited Speaker

1. Star Formation in Our Galaxy: The Need for ALMA(Ctrl #: 42)   Doug I. Johnstone1
1NRC-Herzberg Inst. of Astrophysics/Univ. of Victoria, Canada.

2. ALMA and Distant Galaxies(Ctrl #: 44)   Andrew W. Blain1

3 .Imaging Star-Forming Gas in Nearby Galaxies(Ctrl #: 401)   Jean Turner1
1UC, Los Angeles.

Poster: 52. Imaging Star Formation in the Cosmos with ALMA II

Time:6/7/2006 10:00:00 AM - 6/8/2006 4:00:00 PM
1.The ALMA Level One Science Requirements(Ctrl #: 234)   H. A. Wootten1

2.The Splatalogue (Spectral Line Catalogue) and Calibase (Calibration Source Database)(Ctrl #: 262)   
Andrew J. Markwick-Kemper1, A. J. Remijan2, E. Fomalont2, the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC)
1University of Virginia / NRAO, 2NRAO.

3.Multiwavelength Study of Massive Protostar G19.30+0.07: Looking Forward to ALMA(Ctrl #: 398)   
Remy Indebetouw1, C. Brogan2, B. Whitney3
1Univ. of Virginia, 2NRAO, 3Space Science Institute.

4.ALMA Pipeline Heuristics(Ctrl #: 288)   Christine Wilson1, D. Muders2, F. Wyrowski2, J. Lightfoot3, 
F. Boone4, G. Kosugi5, L. Davis6, D. Shepherd6
1McMaster Univ., Canada, 2MPIfR, Germany, 3UKATC, United Kingdom, 4Obs. de Paris, France, 5NAOJ, Japan, 6NRAO.

5.Outflows and Accretion in Massive Star Forming Regions(Ctrl #: 304)   Pamela Klaassen1, C. D. Wilson1, E. R. Keto2
1McMaster University / Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 2Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

6.A Gallery of Submillimeter Array Observations of Star Forming Regions(Ctrl #: 337)   Tyler L. Bourke1, et al.
1Harvard-Smithsonian, CfA.

7.The North American ALMA Science Center(Ctrl #: 480)   John E. Hibbard1, C. L. Brogan1, H. A. Wootten1, and the NAASC staff

8.Star Formation Research - Now And With Alma(Ctrl #: 274)   Debra S. Shepherd1

-- JohnHibbard - 26 Apr 2006
Topic revision: r4 - 2006-04-28, JohnHibbard
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