Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Scheduler Upgrades

The job scheduler is upgraded to support Moon-avoidance, the weights are tweaked to attempt to balance the work load a little better and there is a new live display of the job queue available on the website.

Thanks to some user and in-house analysis it was apparent that the scheduler concentrates too much on jobs which are setting. The idea of this part of the scheduler is to catch targets that are setting at system start-up - these are jobs which are only getting harder each night to observe as they rotate out of view for several months. However, it appears to be biased too heavily towards this behaviour, so I have tweaked the scheduler weightings to de-prioritise these jobs slightly. I'm not sure how much of an affect my tweaking will have, so we are waiting and collecting data from real observing. In a few days we will analyse the changes and see if we should tweak it some more, or maybe even less.

Another recent upgrade to the scheduler is Moon-avoidance. Unless you specify the Moon as your target object, the scheduler will not send your job to the telescope if the Moon would appear in the field of view, or in Galaxy-cam's case, a lot further to reduce off-axis light capture. For Galaxy cam and Constellation Cam, the Moon has to be 30° away from the target in angular separation; for Cluster cam we have decided on 10° distance. This feature is completely experimental at this stage so if you notice any problem with it, let me know!

Lastly, you can now watch the scheduler live on the website with the new "Job Queue" page. Much like a flight-board at an airport, the page will display the entire job queue ordered by scheduler score, and will automatically refresh each time the scheduler runs in Tenerife. Your own jobs will be highlighted as will any jobs with special parameters. Also there's a full screen mode for folks with NASA style control rooms! Due to the technologies used, this page is only compatible with IE8 and up. Recent versions of most other browsers should be fine too. This page is unapologetically complex so get ready....

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