Revised Minutes: Special ASAC telecon: 14 Sept 2005

C. Wilson, Mundy, Turner, Carilli, Blain, Testi, Cernicharo, van Dishoeck, Richer, Schilke, Aalto, Cox, Mardones, Yamamoto, Wootten, T. Wilson, Kawabe, Emerson

New Business

1. Rebaselining

1a. report from ANASAC discussion yesterday (Lee)

- focused on looking at which options should change their classification or be put off the table (i.e. which are unacceptable) - unacceptable: 8 (FE bands), 9 (Pol'n), 7a (IF) - 10 (software) poorly understood, but what is listed there should be MA (disenfranchising non-radio astronomers) - things that could possibly move into the Re list: 7b (2 subarrays), 6b (1/4 wave plates deferred) - Al said 7c and 7d are really technical options and should be removed from this list of BCPs - in terms of accounting, 4a (saving pads) is really part of 1 (reducing from 64 to 50 AN) and should be credited as a science impact and a science credit

Carilli: we also said that 5 (WVR) should move to MA (from PR); we also discussed drawing hard line at 50 antennas and having 64 as a goal

1b. report from ESAC (Ewine)

- a lot of agreement with what have just heard from the ANASAC - heard from Gianni Raffi about software a bit more; basically software is underfunded for their scope; all contracts currently stop in 2008; extra money they need is to be able to go up to 2011, to get to end-to-end system; that's why those particular things are in the list - had a lot of discussion of what "defer" means i.e. does it come out of operations money or would we need to go back to funding agencies to ask for additional money; we are still assuming some Operation money will be available for upgrades (as planned) but Operations funding is still very unclear, so could be dangerous to rely on that or to have too many items in the "deferred" category

Chris W.: NSF would have difficulty if construction scope moved into Operations; they would run afoul of U.S. laws ...

Ewine: - the ESAC's unacceptable list is the same as the ANASAC's, but we also added the software descope (10) as presented now (a smaller descope might be possible) - MA: moved WVR (5) to MA - 6a (solar filters): suggested could start with 1/2 of filters, then could still be PR - 6b 1/4 wave plate to MA - 7b should be "defer" 2 of 4 subarrays - 7c,7d same reaction as ANASAC; need more information from project to assess scientific impact - for 1 (# AN), we should note that this is already a concession (50 total compared to 50 operational) - for 2 (long baselines) the point is what "deferred" means; overall importance of long BL is clear, will need them completed ASAP - 3,4 (residence): yes, can save money, but please don't go too far so it becomes an unattractive place to work

1c. Japanese and Chilean response:

- Leonardo asked the Japanese and Chilean members of the ASAC for their input to this process; Japanese members have not yet had a chance to meet with their community and will present their view at the ASAC face-to-face meeting; Diego (for Chile) is in a similar situation

2. Discussion and strategy for BCP list

Leonardo: the ESAC also discussed how to answer to these BCPs; clear things will be moving fast; documents for cost review will be prepared before our face-to-face meeting for sure; if we want input, have to agree what we want to say and feed it back to Board ASAP; he will report it to Board telecon tomorrow; other ASAC telecons may be necessary depending on what happens

- another question is how we proceed here; in email discussion, Tony suggested making a ranked list; Leonardo thinks not correct way to proceed

Chris C.: need to be very clear on our terminology i.e. new category beyond MA (major)

Chris W.: sat in on North American ALMA Board telecon yesterday, where we discussed timeline for ASAC feedback into rebaselining process; Dickman's opinion was that ASAC should definitely make its position known, but that it will not affect what happens over the next few weeks; rebaselining and the cost review are proceeding in parallel; the focus of the cost review is whether the project has the costs right, not how to fit into a given budget; the timing of the ASAC response is driven by the need for the project to have a definitive answer not too late in October; Oct 31/Nov 1 is an important date (some meetings at NSF etc), Nov 30/Dec 1 is a critical date (NSF will make status report to National Science Board, useful to have cost overrun numbers by then); Dickman feels having ASAC response to BCPs by the end of October is fine; - Dickman also urged the ASAC not to create a new "unacceptable" category; her sense from the discussion is that Dickman views all the MA items as unacceptable (including the long baselines), and that is why he sees no need for a 4th category in the BCP list

Leonardo: in Europe there is quite some urgency; Catherine Cesarsky was at the ESAC meeting this morning; ESO Council will be called to take a decision on the basis of a particular number; that number is computed based on what will be accepted from the list of BCPs; we may find ourselves in a situation where Council has approved up to a certain level of funding by the end of this month

Ewine: final number won't be approved until December Council meeting; but committee of Council will be discussing a final number this Friday

Lee: should pass on to Board our immediate reaction; also need to define what "deferred" means to us; U.S. law says you can't push construction scope into operations costs; if we define deferred as needs to be done in first 5 years of operations, because it's necessary for Level 1 goals, then Dickman will know that he has to get more money for the construction phase

Leonardo: our first reaction could be to present what we MUST keep; these are many of the major things; long BL can be deferred but not excluded; if deferring puts them at risk of exclusion, that is not acceptable ... we can either give comments on BCPs or stress again what we wrote in the letter, adding a bit more explanation about the long baselines

Leonardo: proposes to report that our reaction to BCPs is what we said in letter plus software descope unacceptable as presented; deferral of long BL acceptable only if it doesn't put their timely construction at risk; stress again WVRs not linked to long BL, essential for efficient ALMA operations (removing them is like cutting several antennas); won't go into details of which BCPs should change category, except to say that we view WVR and software as MA and we define MA as something that is necessary for Level 1 science.

Ewine: should start drafting our section of this report ASAP so have something specific to discuss at our face-to-face meeting

Other issues:

question: has the committee of ESO council been given a number? yes, actually have been given a range of numbers

question: is there an ASAC member on the cost review committee? yes, Jean Turner (and maybe someone else?)

schedule: if ESO council makes a decision in their Sept meeting, then Finance committee can make decision to award contract on Oct 5; we may know next week if ESO council meeting in Sept will be an "official" meeting, which would suggest a decision will be made then

  1. Next Meeting

Possibility of another ASAC telecon before face-to-face meeting if required by results of September meetings? Leonardo will let us know

Face-to-face Oct 1-2, 2005; October telecon will be arranged there

-- AlWootten - 12 Sep 2005
Topic revision: r3 - 2005-09-22, AlWootten
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