4MOST - 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope
4-m Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope

4MOST All Hands Meeting 2021

by Joe Liske on 2021-09-27

The 4MOST Consortium came together on 13 – 17 September 2021 for the seventh installment of the annual All Hands Meeting (AHM). Again, as in 2020, this AHM was originally planned to be held at ESO in Garching, but the continuing Corona pandemic forced the event to be held entirely online once more, using a combination of zoom (see above) and gather.town (see below). With 147 registered participants from across the Consortium, the meeting was very well attended. The meeting's programme can be found here and all presentations are available on DocuShare.

Below we have collected some impressions from various corners of the project.

Here are some thoughts from Jenny Sorce, a very active member of the Cosmology Redshift Survey (S8): "With the meeting being entirely online again, I found that gather.town permitted interactions with one (a few) person(s) at a time in a very convenient way. It was very easy to switch from a session to a "private" conversation in an instant and to find the people I needed to talk to."

"The programme was very well set up. I particularly enjoyed the two plenary summary sessions that permitted catching up with the sessions I was not able to attend. Otherwise I mostly attended IWG and extragalactic survey sessions. I must say that contrary to the main sessions, there was no (clear) agenda for most of these sessions. Perhaps it would have been useful to have one in order to be better prepared for the discussions and to stay focused (at least that was my impression). I also really appreciated the afternoon on Project Culture and Values for 4MOST. It was also a special meeting in the sense that some PIs of prospective Community Surveys attended, and it was great to meet some of them. Finally, I was glad to hear that after 2 years of CoViD-19, 4MOST is still reasonably on track. All in all, this meeting was a success and I got all the information I needed to conduct my main tasks for the next year."

The Project Office System Engineer, Olga Bellido Tirado, commented: "Despite of the regular videoconferences I have with our partners, the AHM is an annual event I really look forward to. It is certainly an intense week that requires preparation but, from my point of view, the effort is worthwhile. It's an exceptional moment of exchange of knowledge and experiences in all the project areas. Concerning the facility side of the project, learning about the progress of the individual subsystems in their manufacturing and testing phase has been really exciting. In this second virtual AHM, I think that the use of gather.town has been a great success. It has made all the interaction during the coffee breaks much more enjoyable; giving us back the nice and missed feeling of meeting and chatting with colleagues in the corridor."

David Murphy, a key developer of the Data Management System (DMS) had this to say: "I confess I let out a small groan when I discovered this year's meeting would be held predominantly on gather.town. I'd had a mixed experience with it at last year's AHM, and didn't think it would work very well. Turns out I was completely wrong! An inspired decision by the LOC that really helped to stimulate group discussions and even socialising."

"I was encouraged by how much the project had moved on, despite all the challenges of the past year. From the Operations perspective, we've managed to start analysing engineering data to get a real feel for how the instrumentation will perform. We are now in the process of establishing a dedicated 4MOST Processing Centre for handling all the data that will be generated. A lot of discussions centred around how this will work for various contributors, including the rapidly-developing Public Archive and the target classifier under IWG9. There's still lots for us to do, but I left the meeting full of enthusiasm for the coming year."

"It was only during the final "group photo" on gather.town (see below) that I discovered how to make my avatar "dance" - if we are indeed able to meet in-person next year, I promise that's something I won't replicate in-person!"

Finally, the Project Manager, Joar Brynnel, reflected: "Personally, I have learned a lot during the week, and I am very pleased to note that no unexpected or surprising issues have surfaced. I liked the format of the meeting, and as far as online meetings go I don't think it gets much better than this. An event like this requires good preparation and tight organization. The LOC has done a great job with the preparation and running of the meeting and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the individuals involved: Roelof, Silke, Christine, Diana and Jakob, many thanks for your competent and wonderful support!"

"I am truly looking forward to the AHM 2022, which in the best of worlds will be held as a traditional face-to-face meeting. At that time, we will hopefully be able to present real results from real hardware in the AIP integration hall!"