The WIYN queue: Theory meets reality

Todd A. Boroson, Dianne L. Harmer, Abhijit Saha, Paul S. Smith, Daryl W. Willmarth, David R. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


During the past two years NOAO has conducted a queue observing experiment with the 3.5m WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona. The WIYN telescope is ideally suited to queue-scheduled operation in terms of its performance and its instrument complement. The queue scheduling experiment on WIYN was designed to test a number of beliefs and hypotheses about gains in efficiency and scientific effectiveness due to queue scheduling. In addition, the experiment was a test of our implementation strategy and management of community expectations. The queue is run according to a set of rules that guide decisions about which observation to do next. In practice, scientific rank, suitability of current conditions, and the desire to complete programs all enter into these decisions. As predicted by Monte Carlo simulations, the queue increases the overall efficiency of the telescope, particularly for observations requiring rare conditions. Together with this improvement for typical programs, the queue enables synoptic, target-of-opportunity, and short programs that could not be scheduled classically. Despite this success, a number of sociological issues determine the community's perception of the WIYN queue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Queue scheduling
  • WIYN telescope

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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