Boutiques & Experiments 2016: Radio

Venue: Cahill Building (Caltech campus),
1216 California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125

Start: 1 pm, on July 21, 2016 (Thursday)
End: 1 pm, on July 23, 2016 (Saturday)

List of Participants   |   "Preceedings"   |   Presentations

Boutiques & Experiments (B&E) is an invitational workshop. The purpose of this (hopefully durable) series is to examine carefully near-term opportunities in astronomy, especially for those areas which are expected to get or are getting vibrant. Last year we focused on optical synoptic surveys ( B&E2015). This year the workshop is focused on opportunities in meter-wave and cm-wave radio astronomy. In these bands astronomy is now both fecund and full of opportunities. As before, the workshop has an underlying contrarian flavor (in that the goal is to identify and harvest low-hanging fruits, especially ahead of future large projects).

To start with, Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) continue to be puzzling but their diagnostic power to probe the IGM and intense sites of star-formation in other galaxies is unquestioned and supreme. A veritable industry (boutiques, experiments and large industrial machines), ranging from big facilities such as CHIME and Molonglo to small experiments such as DSA-10 at OVRO, centered around FRBs is now in full swing.

New centimeter- and meter-wave facilities are either producing or are on the verge of producing large amounts of data: LOFAR, ASKAP, MeerKAT, MWA and LWA (the list is not complete!). VLA is about to start a major sky survey (VLASS). In the US there is a low awareness of Spektr-RG (expected to launch next year). However this mission carrying eROSITA is like ROSAT on steroids. With its cadenced and synoptic all-sky coverage this mission is expected to revolutionize X-ray astronomy. The combination of of VLASS and SRG survey will be a bonanza for TDE science (at the very least). We are pleased that R.~Sunyaev kindly agreed to attend the workshop and talk on Spektr-RG.

Next, we are officially in the era of GW astronomy. This is truly an exciting development. Stellar mass black holes exist in abundance, both singly and in binaries. In a curious way the LIGO discoveries offer hope that radio astronomers will soon discover a psr+bh system. Next, with regard to bh-ns and ns-ns coalescences, one could make a compelling case that radio observations will have as good a chance (and perhaps better than relative to other bands) of detecting long lived remnants.

Techniques have played an important and arguably critical role in the development of radio astronomy. For instance, the first generation interferometers were designed to evenly sample the u-v space, whence their fully redundant East-West configuration (e.g. WSRT). The invention of the CLEAN technique opened up a dizzying number of array configurations (e.g. the VLA). A single algorithm had a profound effect on civil engineering requirements of radio interferometers! We have an entire session to discuss new algorithms, developments in signal processing (spurred by requirements of SETI and searches for FRBs) and community based common development (CASPER). On the more traditional analog hardware side the demonstration of cooled phased arrays (AO-19) is now opening up a new era in single dish astronomy (e.g. AO-40).

In the past, with considerable efforts, joint surveys were undertaken (e.g. iPTF and VLA Stripe-82 survey). Thanks to the proliferation of optical synoptic surveys such joint surveys can be expected to be come quite routine (MeerLICHT calls for joint observations between MeerKAT and an optical wide field imager). In that spirit, discussions have started for a joint program between ZTF and SDSS (once both programs have finished their prime surveys).

As noted earlier B&E 2015 examined the near-term opportunities in the field of optical synoptic imaging surveys. We are following the same format: have the proceedings available ahead of the workshop and expect the participants to read the extended abstracts (and the diligent student to read the suggested references) ahead of the workshop. The speakers are expected to entirely skip introduction and proceed directly to the heart of their talk. Chairs of all sessions have been instructed to ensure that there is 5 minutes of discussion for each talk.

An added attraction of B&E 2016 is that several radio astronomers who were heavily involved in the formulation and development of the VLA, VLBI & VLBA (B. Clark, S. Weinreb, M. Cohen & A. Readhead) will be attending the meeting. We also have a fair number of young, novice and neophyte radio astronomers attending the workshop. In fact, all students who inquired or showed the slightest inclination were invited to attend the workshop. The workshop offers to be an intellectual treat and hopefully memorable to fans of radio astronomy. As with B&E 2015, we have included ``historical" pictures but this time of radio astronomy facilities -- in honor of the pioneering radio astronomers gracing this modest workshop. G. Hallinan took charge of this initiative and obtained vintage photographs from M. Cohen, A. Readhead and M. Goss, amongst others.

I would like to thank D. Frail and G. Hallinan for helping me formulate the slate of speakers and invitees. Vikram Ravi was the editor for "B&E 2016 Notebook". He was responsible for the style and arrangement of the contributions. As with B&E 2015, we are publishing the proceedings ahead of the workshop. This unusual approach worked very well for B&E 2015. [In astronomy, proceedings are routinely published after the workshop and with delays of a six months to a year. In computer science, the proceedings are published well ahead of the workshop. The latter is superior in that not only the speakers comes well prepared but so does the audience. The speakers can then directly proceed to their talk instead of starting off from Newton's Principia etc.] In addition, extended abstracts contributed by various attendees not giving presentations are also included in each section of the proceedings.

The Caltech Optical Observatories provided the logistical and secretarial support for this workshop. Specifically, I would like to thank Bronagh Glaser who took care of much of the administrative burden and logistical chores for the workshop. I am grateful to Tony Readhead, Director of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), for partial support of this workshop.

Click here for B&E2016 Notebook! Note: the proceedings were available a week before the meeting.


Reaching Caltech (various airports)   |   Hotels  |  Parking (Parking Lot 6 is most convenient; $6/day)


SPEAKERS & Chairs:

Note 1: All but four talks are 20+5 minutes
        It is critical that discipline be maintained.
Note 2: Four talks, marked with "*", are 35+5 minutes

July 21, 2016 (THURSDAY)
1300-1310  Welcome, S. R. Kulkarni

Session A: Fast Radio Bursts, Chair: J. Kollmeier 
1. 1310-1350*  A review of FRBs (+UTMOST), M. Bailes
2. 1350-1415   Searching for FRBs with the VLA, C. Law
3. 1415-1440   CHIME as an FRB machine, K. Vanderlinde 
4. 1440-1505   DSA-10, V. Ravi 
5. 1505-1530   APERTIF (slow & fast transients), J. van Leeuwen 

   1530-1600   Coffee Break

Session B: Propagation,  Chair: J. Lazio 
6. 1600-1625   Diffractive Scintillations & FRBs, J. Cordes
7. 1625-1650   Refractive Scintillations, K. Akiyama
8. 1650-1715   Extreme Scattering Events, K. Bannister
9. 1715-1740   Probing IGM, T. Akahori 

1740-1900 Wine-n-Cheese Reception (Cahill Patio)

July 22, 2016 (FRIDAY)
   0800-0900  Continental breakfast

Session C:    GW, High-Energy & UV, Chair:  Y. Yatsu
10. 0830-0910* Spektr-RG Mission, R. Sunyaev
11. 0910-0935  MAXI, N. Kawaii
12. 0935-1000  ULTRASAT, E. Ofek
13. 1000-1025  GW+EM Astronomy, L. Wen

   1025-1100  BREAK

Session D: Relativistic Systems &  Explosions, Chair: J. Katz
14. 1100-1125  GHz radio transient sky in the GW era, K. Mooley
15. 1125-1150  Supernovae driven by Relativistic Engines, A. Corsi
16. 1150-1215  Galactic Double Neutron Star Systems, M. Kramer

   1215-1400  LUNCH a Cafeteria 
              Before leaving for lunch participants self organize 
              working groups to discuss topics such as 
		a. "RF/CASPER", Leader: S. Weinreb
	        b. EM strategies in the GW era, Leaders: Kasliwal, Hallinan
	        c. Phased arrays, J. Cordes
	        d. After SDSS-4 (AS4), J. Kollmeier

	      The groups can continue the discussions next day during lunch
Session E: Transients, Chair: A. Horesh
17. 1400-1425  Transients: LOFAR, Carbone 
18. 1425-1450  Transient: MWA, S. Croft
19. 1450-1515  Transients: LWA, Hallinan
20. 1515-1540  Status & Future of CASPER, D. Werthimer

   1540-1610  BREAK
Session F: Transients II, Chair: B. Gaensler
21. 1610-1635  Galactic Radio Transients, G. Sivakoff 
22. 1635-1700  Nuclear Radio Transients, K. Alexander 
23. 1700-1710  Introducing Prof. Marshall Cohen, A. Readhead
24. 1710-1750* In Quest of High Angular Resolution: IPS, VLBI & Alfven Waves, M. Cohen

   1800-1830  Reception (Atheneum Lawn)
   1830-2030  Informal Dinner

July 23, 2016 (SATURDAY)

Session G: Methodology, Chair: B. Clark
25. 0830-0855   Breakthrough Listen, D. Price
26. 0855-0920   VLASS: On-The-Fly Mapping & Rapid Data Products, S. Myers
27. 0920-0945   MeerLICHT (& MeerKAT), P. Groot 
28. 0945-1005   Breakthrough Algorithms, B. Zackay
29. 1005-1030   Real time transient detection,  J. Hessels 

1030-1100 COFFEE BREAK

Session H: Radio Boutiques & Experiments, Chair: J. Lazio
30. 1100-1125   Tests of GR with satellite tracking, D. Duev
31. 1125-1150   Wideband Monitoring of radio sources, H. Vedantham
32. 1150-1215   Single dish & VLBI in Japan, K. Fujisawa 
33. 1215-1255*  The eco-system of Radio Observatories: Boutiques & Behemoths, D. Frail

1300 Working Lunch in the patio area (Box lunches will be provided; please sign up)
	The discussions started the previous day will continue. To recap:
	a. Common development for RF, fibers, LNAs, led by Weinreb
	b. Radio & Optical in GW era, led by M. Kasliwal & G. Hallinan
	c. Status of Phased Array Feeds, led by J. Cordes
	d. After SDSS-4 (AS$), led by J. Kollmeir