Streamlining and Allocating Telescope Time



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Project Team

Roz Stengle
Developer Designer Entrepreneur

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Sahasra ABSTRACT: Ensuring the efficient allocation of resources for astronomy research proposals given the constraint of time across observatories. Problem statement → Despite the abundance of telescopic power around the globe, there remains an archaic process for the distribution of this precious resource. Hundreds of researchers battle to gain access to observatories through a stiff and inefficient system. Sahasra is a platform to allocate telescope time to democratically-determined astronomical research projects. The reputation based voting system creates a dynamic prioritization scheme to push the limits of discovery in a way that satisfies a wider audience than is currently possible. Not only does this platform make it easier for researchers to multiple observatories simultaneously, it also streamlines the process for reviewers and ensures efficient allocation of each telescope’s time. There are two parts of the existing system. Processing requests Assigning accepted projects to telescopes PART ONE - Requests Currently the requests for resources are chosen by a board of reviewers who meet in person and manually read each proposal to grant time and funding to projects. This is: SLOW - there is a backup for each telescope TIRING - reviewers must travel and read each proposal EXCLUSIVE of those not already trusted or known (particularly a problem with building a diverse group of researches) STATIC - the same set of criteria has been used for decades despite the fact that priorities within the field are dynamic Reviewers should review all proposals against the following criteria: - The scientific merit of the program and its potential contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge - The program’s importance to astronomy in general - The extent to which the proposal demonstrates sufficient understanding to assure a thorough analysis of the data - A demonstration that the unique capabilities of HST are required to achieve the science goals of the program - Evidence for a coordinated effort to maximize the scientific return. PART TWO - Allocating Telescope Time Currently researchers must apply to telescopes individually because not every observatory is equipped for every type of observation. The system isL SLOW for researchers to apply to each observatory individually LIMITING usually geographically for researchers THE SOLUTION To create a system as dynamic as the field which it supports, Sahasra allows any individual to create an account with a verified key from an institution (such as a school, museum, observatory, etc.). This is to prevent a malicious user from spamming the network with empty voting accounts. Individuals build reputation on the platform by participating in voting on proposals. Institutions receive tokens from making their telescopes available for public use. These are distributed to a multisignature address that the individual researchers associated with an observatory can access and use for their own research. Users are rewarded for performing the task of article reviewal. Understanding that not all users in the platform will be experts in Astronomy, or that not even all Astronomers are equally skilled in all areas, users will also be rewarded for referring articles Additionally, the current system is opaque meaning that there is often overlap in proposals. A transparent system like Sahasra fosters collaboration and evidences the priorities of the field; however, currently, this only splits potential support from the review board, making the most popular ideas the least backed. Sahasra is transparent, and our hope is that users will see the proposals of their fellow researchers and operate separately conceived projects from a more general shared data set. . Once a proposal is accepted, a smart contract is deployed to determine to which observatory the project will be sent. These institutions already posted the number of hours they were willing to give up to be a part of the network for the aforementioned incentive. for a better formatted version --


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