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16 September 2004 A free market in telescope time?
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As distributed systems are becoming more and more diverse in application there is a growing need for more intelligent resource scheduling. eSTAR Is a geographically distributed network of Grid-enabled telescopes, using grid middleware to provide telescope users with an authentication and authorisation method, allowing secure, remote access to such resources. The eSTAR paradigm is based upon this secure, single sign-on, giving astronomers or their agent proxies direct access to these telescopes. This concept, however, involves the complex issue of how to schedule observations stored within physically distributed media, on geographically distributed resources. This matter is complicated further by the varying degrees of constraints placed upon observations such as timeliness, atmospheric and meteorological conditions, and sky brightness to name a few. This paper discusses a free market approach to this scheduling problem, where astronomers are given credit, instead of time, from their respective TAGs to spend on telescopes as they see fit. This approach will ultimately provide a community-driven schedule, genuine indicators of the worth of specific telescope time and promote a more efficient use of that time, as well as demonstrating a 'survival of the fittest' type selection.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Jason Etherton, Iain A. Steele, and Christopher J. Mottram "A free market in telescope time?", Proc. SPIE 5493, Optimizing Scientific Return for Astronomy through Information Technologies, (16 September 2004);


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