New Opportunities in Astronomical Scheduling

Tue 8 Dec 2020

Virtual Meeting Only


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Contact Information:

Have questions? Please contact STScI.


Observational discovery in astronomy requires time on scarce, specialized facilities. The process of scheduling maps science programs to telescope time. As the scale and complexity of our surveys and instruments increase, effective scheduling becomes more critical to their scientific success. The next decade will see the continued proliferation of imaging surveys, heterogeneous networks of roboticized telescopes, time-critical multi-facility followup of multi-messenger alert streams, massively multiplexed time-domain spectroscopic surveys, and the first observations from some of the most valuable telescopes ever constructed.  All these activities require mbitious scheduling commensurate with the sophisticated facilities that undertake them.  In this talk, I will provide a broad taxonomy of scheduling approaches used in astronomy, discuss the Integer Linear Programming approach used to schedule the time-domain surveys of the Zwicky Transient Facility, and highlight some exciting new scheduling ideas being explored.

Speaker:  Eric Bellm (University of Washington)

Eric Bellm is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington.  He is the Survey Scientist for the Zwicky Transient Facility as well as Alert Production Science Lead for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.  He earned his PhD in Physics from U.C. Berkeley and has helped develop and commission ground-based, balloon-borne, and satellite observatories.


The goal of STScI Engineering and Technology Colloquia is to provide speakers for our community of the highest caliber from leading-edge engineering and technology disciplines and promote collaboration with professionals across the Institute. The steering committee invites speakers not only from conventional engineering disciplines, but from across business, academia, and government. Obtaining speakers with perspectives and knowledge that can enrich the understanding of our staff and simultaneously enhance their connections with other professionals across the nation is fundamental to ensuring STScI remains at the forefront of its mission.

Please direct questions or comments to the contact above. The 2019-20 committee members are Martha Devaud, Nicholas Earl, Sherita Hanna, Ian Jordan, Lisa Kleinwort, Lauretta Nagel, Modhumita Sabata, and Eliza Wojtaszek.