ALMA in the Coming Decade: A Development Workshop

ALMA in the Coming Decade: A Development Workshop

ALMA in the Coming Decade: A Development Workshop

ALMA Aerial

April 18, 2013, Charlottesville, Virginia

ALMA Early Science results have been pouring out, and more than 30 papers have now been published on a wide range of topics. Installation and commissioning of the final receiver bands funded for construction has begun. In commissioning and Early Science, ALMA has operated at wavelengths from 3mm to 0.3mm across a decade of nearly complete frequency access as enabled by its broad bandwidth receivers, powerful correlators and spectacular site. Having invested ~$1.3B to realize the biggest historical advance in ground-based astronomy, it is vital to maintain and expand its capabilities.

The ALMA Operations Plan envisages an ongoing program of development and upgrades that may include hardware, software, or data analysis tools. With a modest investment, ALMA will continue to lead astronomical research through the 2011-2020 decade and beyond. Construction of the first post-construction receiver bands, phasing hardware, and new data analysis tools has commenced in North America partially under a program of Development Studies submitted in response to a Call issued in November 2011. In response to that Call, 21 submissions were received involving 77 investigators from 26 institutions. After review by an external panel, eight proposals were funded; these are now reaching the end of their funding periods.

A new Call for Development Studies, followed by a Call for Development Projects, will be issued in Spring 2013. To support this new Call, an informational workshop will be held, with participation available via video and audio links, on Thursday, 18 April 2013 at NRAO headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. An overview of the current ALMA Development Plan and studies now under way will be given.

These Calls are intended to attract proposals for innovative ideas that address current and future scientific opportunities with ALMA. All interested parties located within the North American ALMA partnership are eligible to participate in these studies.

The primary aims of these studies are to:

  • give groups in North America the opportunity to propose ALMA upgrades that may later be implemented as part of the ALMA Development Plan;
  • support the development of conceptual and detailed designs for ALMA upgrades; and
  • encourage relevant long-term research and development in areas important for ALMA.

The completed studies will be used, together with similar studies from the other ALMA partners, to augment and implement the ALMA Development Plan.