Report to the Director
at the ATNF in Epping, Sydney
- October 26/27, 2000 -
Report to the Director.
The meeting was held at the ATNF Headquarters, Marsfield, on October 26/27,
2000. The Foraml business Session (Closed Session) commenced at 9:30 h and
ended at 17:30 h on Friday, the 27th of October 2000.
Members in Attendance:
Dr. Ramesh Balasubramanyam, Dr. David Barnes, Ms.
Hayley Bignall, Dr. Jessica Chapman, Dr. Elizabeth Corbett, Dr. Simon
Ellingsen, Dr. Anne Green (Chair), Dr. Carole Jackson, Dr. Dave Jauncey, Dr.
Bärbel Koribalski (outgoing secretary), Dr. Vince McIntyre (incoming
secretary), Mr. Eric Muller, Dr. Mark Walker.
Apologies: Dr. Ravi Sood, Dr. Charley Lineweaver.
Ex-officio members: John Reynolds was present.
Matters arising from the Director's response to the previous ATUC report:
- 1(A) Outreach program
- (i) ATUC congratulates ATNF on establishing the Graduate Student
Program and the generous level of funding. We recommend that the
guidelines be amended so that:
+ all currently-affiliated ATNF students be eligible to
apply for the travel grants.
+ the research proposal for new students should outline the
facilities expected both from the host university and from the
ATNF, that would be required for the success of the project.
- (ii) ATUC endorses the goals outlined for the Outreach Program. We
would like to see stronger links between Astronomy and related
technology. ATUC recommends an Open Day be held at Marsfield HQ,
with possible inclusion of AAO and that the Engineering Division
be encouraged to participate.
- 5a) ATUC is split on the question of approving the "SETI at home"
proposal. A majority (for=9, against=2, abstained=2) supported the
proposal with the provisos that a) the scientific data are not
compromised by introduced RFI, and b) that there is no net cost to
ATNF. Concerns were voiced about unauthorised access to the data from
the approved astronomical program.
- 5b) A majority of ATUC members (for=8, against=5, abstained=0) would
like further exploration of possible science projects along the lines
of the "SETI at home" model.
- 5c) ATUC notes the PR opportunity of having astronomical images as
- 8) ATUC considers that in most cases there should be no problem making
calibrator data openly available, but in any flux monitoring programs
(where calibrators are often the target sources) agreement must
be obtained from the PIs involved. This recommendation is also to be
New Business Matters:
- ATUC strongly supports an increase in the Marsfield Lodge accommodation
- ATNF support for Australian institutional researchers is to be applauded
and ATUC would like to suggest the following order of priority for
+ jointly-funded postdoctoral positions
+ encouragement of Australian university participation in the
Distinguished Visitors program
+ page charge support for ATNF data publications
- ATUC submits the statistics on the status of recommendations as the
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) on ATUC and ATNF management:
|Meeting||Total No.||Done||Not done
|Mar 1999|| 18 || 9 || 4 || 1 || 4
|Sep 1999|| 17 ||12 || 2 || 1 || 2
|Mar 2000|| 23 || 9 || 2 || 0 ||12
- ATUC recommends that the 3 weeks following TAC meetings be kept free of
all meetings involving the OICs, so that the observing schedules can be
prepared in a timely manner.
- ATUC will poll users to rank usage and importance of the Parkes
receivers to assist future maintenance and development scheduling.
- ATUC suggests that a session be organised at the next ASA meeting to
debate the scheduling mechanisms for mm-wave observing.
- Concerning ATCA NAPAs, ATUC recommends that an acceptable level for
an automatic overide interrupt on scheduled observing be a loss of
up to half an hour per project, per term. In addition, the automatic
trigger programs should be re-evaluated after the first term of
operation. We expect the TAC to determine which programs will be
- The majority of ATUC (for=2, against=10, abstained=1) does not support
the concept of paid Service Observing on the ATCA at the present time.
- ATUC assigns a scientific priority of 1 to both the Wideband Continuum
Correlator (single-baseline operation) and a duplicate of the ATCA Pulsar
Integrator (PINT) for Parkes. A report on the science cases for both the
Parkes 22 GHz multibeam and focal plane arrays is requested for the next
ATUC meeting. ATUC requests clarification of the scientific opportunities
for Australian use of the AMIBA facilities.
- ATUC recognises the value of enhanced expertise and technology from
continuing astronomy-related external contract work, particularly in
view of the termination of MNRF funding in 2002.
- ATUC gives the following feedback to the AIPS++ manager:
+ more workshops to be arranged at ATNF
+ roadshow talks to be given at Institutions
+ demonstrations of imaging, and high impact applications to be given
at scheduled meetings
+ suggest a new name for the system?
- ATNF is a complex integrated computing environment. We fail to see any
significant benefit from further IT outsourcing. This will have a major
negative impact on our scientific productivity. For example, we need to
preserve the current levels of time-critical online computing support
and ensure data security. The process has already had a significant
negative impact on personnel productivity and resources.
- ATUC supports the idea of a Synthesis Imaging School in September 2001
at Narrabri. We recommend a session on single-dish observing be included.
- ATUC recommends that the possibility of installing one of the new 3.5mm
InP receivers on Mopra for next winter be explored in the next MNRF
mm-meeting. This action is not to interrupt the installation of the
single baseline prototype system at ATCA. We endorse the idea of
restricting support for Mopra to periods of VLBI observing and the
annual period supported by UNSW.
- ATUC congratulates the INT-MIT team on their progress in RFI mitigation
and encourages further scientific projects in this area. For example;
20cm Parkes solar baseline ripple, 1612 MHz GLONASS.
- ATUC feels that the web pages are in need of improvement and would be
more helpful if they included: a) an on-line sensitivity calculator for
all ATNF telescopes; b) more prominently-positioned deadlines and
configuration availability, including nonstandard configurations;
c) improvements to the web-based scheduling program (example: inputs for
mosaicing, the risk of overwriting existing schedules).
- Next meeting; before Easter 2001 (e.g. March 20/21). The members
recommended retaining the same format as for this meeting.
Anne Green (Chair)