Memorandum of ALMA Operations: PI Data Delivery

Published: 16 Oct 2016

Memo from the ALMA Director and Operations Managers

The fundamental product of the ALMA Observatory is, and will remain, calibrated data and images. At the same time, the Observatory has been steadily increasing its performance in terms of efficiency, stability and time available for PI-driven science and, as a result, a steady increase in data production. We, at ALMA, aspire to maintain the quality of the delivered data. In the short-term, this will imply some extended data delivery timescales as the Observatory copes with the increased data load and the calibration and imaging pipeline matures to routine and more automated processing.

Today, the current delivery time has a median value of 9.5 weeks with most (~80%) datasets delivered in 16.7 weeks or less. There is a tail to the distribution that results in some datasets being delivered in many months. The management team of ALMA understands that this is a source of frustration in the community and has committed to improving the data delivery rates. In January 2016, the Operations Teams ranked the development of the pipeline as the number one priority item for ALMA. The Operations Management and Science Operations Teams have since reviewed the pipeline performance and workflow and identified other priorities that can be reset to give further support to speeding data reduction and delivery. We are also investigating other means to further speed the development of the pipeline, increase staff as possible, and improve the efficiency of our workflow.

We ask for your patience during this period and that you be re-assured that we give this problem the highest priority.