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How will the AVO affect you? Gerry Gilmore IoA, Cambridge, UK.

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Presentation on theme: "How will the AVO affect you? Gerry Gilmore IoA, Cambridge, UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 How will the AVO affect you? Gerry Gilmore IoA, Cambridge, UK

2 The AVO Context Exclusive groups [eg, Carnegie/Caltech in optical-IR; Aus in radio] evolve into public- access multi-national projects: VLA, ALMA, HST, CERN, ELT? Public Money  open access AVO intrinsically multinational: builds on the inherently international internet/grid. AVO exists since software is now a cost/design driver for all major projects and archives Applies the new eScience paradigm But how will we live with this?

3 AVO: the big effect AVO will succeed if everyone gets more from it than their own input  multipartner involvement an essential requirement:  YAY for IVOA Perhaps the biggest effect is sociological: international cooperation in AVO is critical. This raises lots of management issues. And many implications for users

4 The best effect of AVO CCDs revolutionised astronomy: with enhanced precision and accuracy at affordable cost. CCDs are the default choice. AVO could be the software equivalent of CCDs : essential, provided by professionals, better than any alternative. AVO success means it is used more than it is discussed

5 The AVO today Generic justification for public funding  AVO is essential to allow effective public access to processed data  longevity of research use This implies significant continuing support and development  AVO career paths, AVO management structures… And decision making challenges: there is no single PI Institution/group; who decides? Where is AVO on the Schilizzi list? We’ve never done this before! Though many national-scale successes

6 One effect of AVO Where funding systems demand public access, or science needs more people [ too much data, many possible applications, political funding… ] AVO is the viable response mechanism. Already much quoted! LHC-grid, human genome,… model Driving sociological change to Big Science Do we want this? Can we avoid it?

7 AVO: the big pluses It is timely: the grid must be good for more than faster spam… It is a strong community development mechanism, open to poorer countries [NB, this is not necessarily seen as a positive point] Enlarging and strengthening the international community strengthens all of astronomy: we start to repay society by skill training, astronomy moves away from being an expensive luxury

8 The effect of AVO: one example The current European political fashion is to expand high- technology support for less-rich countries YAY, YAY, YAY !! Providing effective access to state of the art data and tools, and relevant training, is our response: ergo AVO One effect of AVO will be to enlarge and strengthen the community, without requiring permanent migration of scientists Not necessarily considered a positive… This implies much more scientific competition…

9 IS AVO a free lunch for most? If so, it will fail. AVO must retain active participation by most potential user communities if it is to be used and developed. How? Does this create a monster, and inhibit future individual creativity? Most great ideas, as for AVO, come from a few exceptional people (PIs): too rigid a structure prevents this in future BUT standards are essential for applications And AVO is a very good idea.

10 AVO as the international standard Standards Imperialism is a risk But standards are essential, and can work: eg FITS, astrometric reference systems And local interfaces `adaptors’ do work A challenge: hardware can change rapidly; software is an integral, and is expensive. Is this a serious constraint on future development?

11 AVO Imperialism? A massive infrastructure demands applications (shuttle fleet  ISS?; armies  wars?) Will AVO drive funding agencies too far from PI-led, science-driven projects? This is a real risk, but not immediate: astronomy already decided to make this the `survey decade’: we need AVO to deliver the science products, and learn from experience.

12 The effect of AVO: another example Major investment in one technology leaves others unbalanced: there are now many 8-10m telescopes, but too few surveys Hence we are entering the `survey decade’ 318 papers on astroph with `survey’ in the title in the last 5 months HDF, 2dF, CDF, GOODS, SDSS, WMAP, CFH, OGLE, 2MASS, radio, IR, molecular,… Dramatic science advances!! But so far very little real cross-wavelength science (modulo qso, grb,…), and all `point’ sources.

13 ISOCAM and SCUBA surveys: new tools for huge complex data sets and maps are already essential

14 Matching multi-wavelength data sets is possible only for a very expert large team: until AVO

15 A possible inverse effect Will AVO mean large consortia are no longer essential for multi-wavelength projects? This will `empower the individual’ But may isolate the individual And limit science to range of astrophysics knowable by small groups Sociological/political reactions here…

16 An effect of AVO? No small research group will have the expertise to really understand the limitations of the datasets AVO makes available Will large expert data centres (CDS, IPAC,…) become even more necessary: how are these to be funded, if their role is international helpline support? Need they exist as entities? Linux model? Virtual institutes? Now look at a proposed example

17 A survey path WASP: wide angle survey for planets; WFCAM: UKIRT large survey, from 1/04; VISTA: UK-ESO IR survey, [plus VST 04] Eddington: ESA asteroseismology and planet finding mission GAIA: HST resolution all- sky imaging + astrometry Still points, but phase- space

18 Projects on this scale demand GRID-AVO technologies, and demand accumulating expertise. We have no choice. Their affordability is a real effect of AVO on astronomy

19 An AVO effect Most large projects reinvent costly wheels [``not invented here’’ syndrome] Retaining the knowledge to manage very large projects implies continuity and structures, not `isolated’ PI-led teams The tension between infrastructures and creativity is always evolving Can AVO be the first distributed observatory?

20 The effect of AVO AVO will certainly democratise astronomy Powerful tools can dominate  powerpoint AVO needs to empower, not limit AVO will break the multi-wavelength access barrier, and allow more complexity There are sure to be serious errors from this! Poor or inappropriately calibrated data can be used unknowingly in a complex system. This will be a huge challenge for referees.

21 AVO effects Truly allow multi-wavelength astronomy  reduce conservatism, great for ALMA Access many more archives  new science opportunities in discovery space Reduce the finance barrier  empower the community, increase competition Perhaps reduce need for huge science collaborations?

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