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Message from the ALMA Directors and Management Team about the Status of Data Delivery

Oct 20, 2016

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. Recently, the rate of data acquisition has exceeded our delivery capacity. In the short- term, this will imply some extended data delivery timescales as the Observatory refines processes and increases capacity to meet this increasing data load.

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. Over the past few months, the Operations Management and Science Operations Teams have reviewed overall data workflow processes and have identified a number of priorities for improvement that will speed data reduction and delivery. These include staff augmentations in key data areas, workflow rearrangements, prioritization of pipeline development tasks, and an optimization of the online as well as the offline system.

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