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Proceedings Paper

The ALMA CONOPS project: the impact of funding decisions on observatory performance
Author(s): Jorge Ibsen; John Hibbard; Giorgio Filippi
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Paper Abstract

In time when every penny counts, many organizations are facing the question of how much scientific impact a budget cut can have or, putting it in more general terms, which is the science impact of alternative (less costly) operational modes. In reply to such question posted by the governing bodies, the ALMA project had to develop a methodology (ALMA Concepts for Operations, CONOPS) that attempts to measure the impact that alternative operational scenarios may have on the overall scientific production of the Observatory. Although the analysis and the results are ALMA specific, the developed approach is rather general and provides a methodology for a cost-performance analysis of alternatives before any radical alterations to the operations model are adopted. This paper describes the key aspects of the methodology: a) the definition of the Figures of Merit (FoMs) for the assessment of quantitative science performance impacts as well as qualitative impacts, and presents a methodology using these FoMs to evaluate the cost and impact of the different operational scenarios; b) the definition of a REFERENCE operational baseline; c) the identification of Alternative Scenarios each replacing one or more concepts in the REFERENCE by a different concept that has a lower cost and some level of scientific and/or operational impact; d) the use of a Cost-Performance plane to graphically combine the effects that the alternative scenarios can have in terms of cost reduction and affected performance. Although is a firstorder assessment, we believe this approach is useful for comparing different operational models and to understand the cost performance impact of these choices. This can be used to take decision to meet budget cuts as well as in evaluating possible new emergent opportunities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 August 2014
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9149, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V, 91491W (7 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056796
Show Author Affiliations
Jorge Ibsen, Joint ALMA Observatory (Chile)
John Hibbard, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (Chile)
Giorgio Filippi, Joint ALMA Observatory (Chile)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9149:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V
Alison B. Peck; Chris R. Benn; Robert L. Seaman, Editor(s)

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