An integrated scheduling and program management system

D. Porter, J. D. Gibson, G. G. Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


An integrated scheduling and program management system is being developed for the MMT Observatory (MMTO), Arizona, USA. A systems engineering approach is used to combine existing and new relational databases, spreadsheets, file storage systems, and web-based user interfaces into a single unified system. An overview of software design, data management, user interfaces, and techniques for performance assessment is presented. Goals of this system include streamlined data management and an optimized user experience. The MMTO has over a dozen different telescope configurations, including three secondary mirrors and a wide range of observing instruments. Scheduling is complex for the varying telescope configurations, limited available observing time, and appropriate astronomic conditions (e.g., lunar phase) for each science project. Scheduled telescope configurations can be used to perform safety checks of actual configuration during telescope operations. Programmatic information is automatically input into nightly telescope operator (TO) logs by the system. The TO's provide additional information into the system on telescope usage, observing conditions (e.g., weather conditions), and observatory closure (e.g., from instrument malfunction or inclement weather). All of this information is synthesized to assess telescope and observatory performance. Web interfaces to the system can be used by observers to submit information, such as travel plans, instrumentation requirements, and observing catalogs. A service request (SR) (i.e., trouble report) system has also been developed for tracking operational issues. The specific needs of the MMTO have been met through in-house software development of this integrated scheduling and program management system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationObservatory Operations
Subtitle of host publicationStrategies, Processes, and Systems IV
StatePublished - 2012
EventObservatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems IV - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 4 2012Jul 6 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherObservatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems IV


  • MMT observatory
  • Performance reporting
  • Relational database
  • Scheduling software
  • Telescope operator log

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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