National Radio Astronomy Observatory NRAO and SKA Fred K. Y. Lo.

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  • Why has NRAO not led SKA development?Individual NRAO staff has been intimately involved in SKA activities over the yearsNRAO has a lot to do right now as an ObservatorySimultaneous ALMA and EVLAI construction are all consumingPlus GBT commissioning; VLA+VLBA operationsEVLA Phase II proposal was pending until recentlyEVLA: second ranked project in last Decadal ReviewA practical first step towards SKA: bird in hand approachEVLAI will be fantastic!NRAO has been transforming itself to deal with large projects and international partnershipLarge projects such as ALMA (and SKA) require a much more formal project management practice and mindsetRequires appropriate management expertise and experience, and toolsThrough ALMA and EVLAI construction, NRAO can now manage and work on large projects better than even a couple of years agoToday, NRAO is in a much better position to contribute to SKA

    ALMA

  • Some Lessons from ALMASKA comparable if not exceeding ALMA in scale and complexityStattmans excellent talk on project management did not include the crucial aspect of international partnershipSignificant overhead of an international partnershipCreating a legal entity alone does not solve the actual problems of managing a HUGE international projecte.g. Who will do the work? Should look at GEMINI closely.KEY is finding the right people for the key positionse.g. Experience to manage $1B project properly is rare but ESSENTIALStart the search early!Dont be idealistic; be REALISTICNational or regional interests MUST be acknowledged UP FRONT!

    ALMA

  • NRAOs approach to SKALevel 1 requirements (science goals) = ? Preparation for the Decadal Review(2008?): Plans MUST appeal to ALL astronomers/astrophysicists, not only radio astronomers Internal NRAO discussions to reach Observatory-wide consensusAnd, work with US community to arrive at a plan that satisfies the future scientific and technological needs NRAO/NAIC organized a meeting in Chicago in Feb 11 near OHare airport to start such discussions:Community must have united front going into the Decadal ReviewImportant for US community to be affiliated with the International SKADiscussions must continue with proper representation of all interested groups to define the best approach for the US astronomy communityNational Centers and community groups must work togetherForming an SKA Working Group within NRAO to focus our activities NRAO expertise and experience is important resource for communityNRAO will provide significant contributions and leadershipA realistic goal of SKA Demonstrator?

    ALMA

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