ALMA North American Science Advisory Committee
Telecon notes for July 9, 2015 submitted by J. diFrancesco
Attendees: Phil Jewell, Al Wootten, Todd Hunter, Rachel Osten, Karin Oberg,
John Carpenter, Dan Marrone, James Di Francesco
- to John Carpenter as the ALMA Observatory Scientist
- to Karin Oberg for her appointment onto the ASAC
B. Discussion Items
(Jewell) ANASAC f2f Meeting Report
Thanks to the ANASAC for providing this report. The advice is much appreciated.
We will provide our preliminary response here and a formal response when the
full Users Committee report (incorporating the ANASAC report) is received.
- Data Reduction
- Archive capabilities
- EOC completion
We are aware that a lot of things left to be done, and competition for
available resources. Generally, we can address these priorities with the
staff and funding we have. Not able to get things done as rapidly as every-
one likes. We are getting things done in a reasonable timeframe. The top
of the list is DR, shuffled considerable resources to address this over the
past year, continuing to build up staff in that area with hiring more data
analysts and staff scientists.
- Decision process for observing capabilities
This is not entirely our control (a JAO thing) at the last AMT meeting there
was considerable discussion about elevating the transparency of this process.
Decisions will be made at the Ops mode meeting, but discussed ways to improve
the review and transparency of this process to allow more input.
Rachel: Cycle 4 capabilities are one example, also Project Tracker and Dup-
lication List are other examples of things need to be improved to increase
transparency. Communication needed to address different facets of this issue.
Alberto: Anything that improves transparency will be welcome.
- Integration of the ANASAC into the Users Committee
We agree with ANASAC's comments about this, that the ANASAC should be larger
than NA ASAC + Taiwan, need critical mass for "training corps" about ALMA be-
fore being asked to join ASAC. We will implement a plan to get us there.
- Charge 1 Outcomes from Cycles 0, 1, 2 & Archive
- Archive publication statistics
We are keeping an eye on the archive, and Al did note that it does look like
archive use is starting to pick up, appending a plot from Felix Storr at the
bottom of the wiki.
- Charge 2 Status of Cycles 1 & 2 and progress toward Cycle 3
- Imaging Pipeline status [Update from Todd Hunter]
We are presently delivering data that are calibrated by the pipeline (about
2/3) that are then imaged manually. Looking good so far. A mid-June meeting
of the Pipeline working group happened to look at remaining items to fix on
the interferometry side, including applying antenna position corrections that
has not been done easily from outside users before. Regarding imaging, that
aspect of the pipeline is still in its infancy. CASA 4.4 was released in mid-
June, and CASA 4.5 has the latest version of 't-clean.' Testing and debugging
a new capability while the pipeline itself is using it. Crystal Brogan is
leading this and is in contact with Socorro team in identifying and solving
problems. Elizabeth Humprhies and Remy Indebetouw also working on this issue.
Working on classic clean for now to make sure the right heuristics are being
applied. Todd has delivered to the developers heuristics about choosing line
free areas, etc. Was successfully tested on Sgr B2 test data, still needs to
be implemented. CASA 4.5 new feature freeze date is August 1 and it is needed for Cycle 3, so things
need to be fixed before the release. Manual testing will continue this month, and then
pipeline will be tested in August and September. CASA 4.5 released to the
community by October 1, possibly with the pipeline within a couple of weeks.
Karin: different levels of imaging delivered depending on who has done it,
what is being done to address that? Arielle Moullet, the DR manager, has
recently written guidelines to produce and deliver more standardized products.
Todd: need to take care of managing this so users know what the are getting.
- Stale Data Plan
The JAO has produced a Stale Data Plan now that consists of a way of releasing
the raw ASDMs to PIs upon request, and not part of the ALMA archive and there
won't be ARC support for them or proprietary issues associated with them. Up
to users to reduce data themselves.
- Charge 3 Comment of Development Studies and Project Processes
- Recommendation to integrate the ANASAC into the selection process
Will work to make this integration happened, a deadline just passed on
Development Study programs. Thanks for recommendations for referees. Al
has been parcelling those projects out to the referees, so that process is
in swing right now.
- Standing Charges 1 & 2 Assisting ASAC in presenting a NA perspective;
leadership in workshops
- Request for an update on making NAASC
computing resources available to
Need two new members, will also be providing these resources.
- Standing Charge 3 regarding broadening ALMAs base within the community
- User survey results
There is a preliminary report now out from the Users Survey that looks
positive. There was a large response this time, due to having the survey
out so soon after the proposal deadline. Helpdesk usability looked good
this time, "helpdesk useability improved over previous cycles" with ~85%
ranking as above average. Trend is in the right direction.
- Standing Charge #4 Evaluation of the Proposal Process (Cycle 3)
- [Question for committee regarding strategy for proposing for prior projects
that have not been observed by the time of the deadline]
Question to the ANASAC: one item discussed at committee meeting that we did
not see make it into the report was about projects not being observed which
are then reproposed. Should there be higher number of A and B grades? Some
discussion but no comment in report. Any recommendations? May want to talk
about this offline. Was discussed offline mostly so not put in the report,
ANASAC can and should discuss this issue at a future telecon, before bringing
it up to the ASAC. A fixed number of A and B grade projects has been floated
in a document and may not make people happy, may be hard to change if widely
circulated. A real discussion about this needed at the October ASAC meeting,
or maybe even the next telecon. John to ping Pierre and Stuartt about what
kind of input he can have on this document.
- ALMA Construction
- Vertex Antenna Plan
Plan to install thermistors in two of the Vertex antenna cabins is scheduled
to start next week DV06 and DV09. Associated holography campaign will start
in early August.
2. Program Scientist (Wootten)
- July eNews copy for ALMA (preliminary version attached, already out of date)
- Science portal for announcement of additional SV data on M100 (combining
12m array, ACA and TP data) and 3C238 (polarization) to be published at
end of July.
- The IRAS 16293 Band 4 dataset is currently being reduced in CASA 4.4 and
the data reduction on 3c138 from the LBC is nearly complete. These two
sets of data will be released after M100 and 3c286.
- Right now on the array: It is EOC week. Mostly software testing involving
simultaneous subarrays is one focus, also first tests of the Band 5 receiver
is another. Observed all night long last night with simultaneous subarrays.
- Weather conditions last night: Wind speed: 5 - 15.0 [m/s], PWV: 0.6 -
1.1 [mm], Temperature: -8.0 - 13.0 [°C]
- Average antennas used during the shift, by band and array family:
Antennas at the AOS: (52x12m, 12x7m). Antennas available at the AOS:
(46x12m, 12x7m). Approximate Array configuration: C34-6/7
- ALMA Proposal Review process redux
- 80% of PIs responded to survey after proposal deadline
- lots to summarize
- AEDM 2010-0780O (Rev3):
be updated?) A new version that includes the Large Programs recommendation
will be sent to the ASAC by the Board for input.
- impressions from Osaka? Dan and Karin wrote up main impressions. Karin:
Seemed better than previous years, still a lot of time consumed and
ambiguity related to duplications and partial duplications. Clear
guidelines are very much needed. Dan: this is needed, there were lots
of proposals for "famous fields." Al: the principles is a high-level Board
document and an implementation document where the details are probably
described. Dan: Impression from Alberto that the document does exist but
not at the panel itself, instead issue handled in a "seat of the pants"
manner instead. Alberto: there is a very well-defined criterion for
duplication but perhaps not a well-defined policy. Partial duplications
are a big problem that will become worse as time goes by. Karin: how to
deal with proposals that use ALMA inefficently (e.g., 600% overheads), in
future need to ask people to consider that carefully. Rachel: weren't the
ALMA policies about duplication not explained to the reviewers?? Someone
from the JAO should have been there to adjudicate the process. Dan: No.
For each proposal with duplications, the panel had to write something about
how duplications would be handled in the future. If it is all laid out
somewhere, this needs to be better circulated. The policy may not be
sufficent for actual cases under real consideration. John Carpenter has
been gathering information about this issue since Osaka, from fellow
Caltech people and Spitzer. (Regardless, someone will always be unhappy.)
Whatever policy does need to be circulated in future PRC meetings. Dan:
Pierre seemed not prepared to address this issue when quizzed while
visiting panels in Osaka. John: previously duplicated observations in the
same Cycle were embargoed but that didn't make a lot of people happy (and
was a lot of work). For Spitzer, duplicatiog proposals were simply killed
depending on rankings. Dan: sometimes there was a problem with proposals
that turned out highly ranked but were reproposals for projects that were
already completed by the time of the PRC meeting. Needs to have some kind
of tracking for this kind of problem, can wind up wasting time. Alberto:
if you are on a panel and are conflicted you can still see the comments,
leading to some awkwardness. Wide agreement that this should be fixed.
Dan: Is there any feedback that needs to be provided? Do ASAC members need to be talking about this? Alberto: My proposal is to send some version of
Dan's report to Neal Evans but up to the people here. Rachel: Will the JAO
officially seek feedback from panellists? Al: they said they would and want
to have "the feedback process" completed. A standing charge for the Board.
- DDT proposal response time (Osten)
Rachel was forwarded e-mail about attempts to submit an DDT proposal and it
seemed that the DDT policy talks about a rapid response category (less than
3 weeks to approval notice) but there is no description of the proposal res-
ponse time, which factors into the actual turnaround. If long, then seems
like a capability that ALMA should try to realize. Currently, turnaround is
5-6 weeks after submitting proposal, not fast enough. Al: sometimes the obs-
ervations are not possible to do soon, due to configuration or EOC time. This
info is on the Science Portal. Also, the PRC week may have unusually delayed
a rapid turnaround in one particular case. So far, Al thinks it's been quite
responsive so far. Rachel: how many requests have the observatory recieved?
Al: 22 submitted projects so far for Cycle 2. (They don't announce unapproved projects.) Two were approved (see Science Portal
). It's a higher bar now to get a DDT observation since you'll be
effectively knocking a regular project out of the queue. A policy here is
needed. Would be useful for ASAC to review the DDT process, e.g,. how many
proposals received and approved, and what the response time was.
- Development: The deadline for submissions in response to the ALMA/NA Call
for Development Studies issued in March was 12 June. 15 valid proposals were
received from 56 proposers representing 20 institutions requesting a total
of $2.528M; $1M is available. The proposals are now being distributed to
referees as nominated by ANASAC. The funded studies are expected to begin
on 1 October 2015.
- AOS Artificial Source. - Status June 2015 (see agenda)
- ANASAC, NAASC
Meetings and Workshops
- Next NAASC
Workshop. Molecular Probes of Galaxies, March, Charlottesville
proposed, discuss next time?
- ALMA Conferences
- Tokyo: Proceeding to be submitted this month. NAOJ approved color
printing of the 350 page volume.
- Next one in the US at a place and Time to be determined (Sept timeframe)
Last one was 1999.
- Others of note (see agenda)
- 241 ALMA publications in refereed journals so far. Refereed ALMA papers
published in May and June (see agenda)
4. Science Operations (Lonsdale)
- Carol on vacation
5. Date of next meeting
- 03 Sep 2015 (TBC)
- Proposed dates for 2015 telecons: 2 Mar, 7 May, 2 Jul, 3 Sep, 5 Nov.
6. Other Business
- Rachel: one final comment while looking over ANASAC report. Allowing any
interested people to attend meetings or get notes about meetings to see what
we've been discussing?