Support for Data Reduction

ALMA operates the Helpdesk system as an official tool for communication with users. We welcome all questions about ALMA, including those about data analysis. The initial ticket creation should be done via a system on the web, but subsequent interactions can be done via email. You can also find how to solve issues and frequently asked questions in the Knowledgebase in the Helpdesk system.

EA ARC provides the following support, for example:

Requesting Calibrated MS

When you want to do imaging using ALMA interferometric data, you need to download raw data with the package including necessary scripts from the ALMA Science Archive, then run the calibration script using the right version of CASA shown in README (for Cycle 1-4) or qa2_report.html/pdf (for Cycle 5 and later) to produce the calibrated measurement sets (MS) (If you do not know how to find CASA version, please see this page). However, it happens that you cannot calibrate the data since the recent Operating Systems are not officially supported for old versions of CASA: e.g., CASA 4.6.* or earlier is not supported for RedHat 7). Another possible issue would be too many failures with the data download. If you wish to receive the calibrated MS, please contact the Helpdesk following this procedure with the template for requesting the calibrated MS.

Face-to-Face Support for Data Reduction

EA ARC provides the face-to-face (F2F) support service. We can also provide the virtual F2F support through a video meeting system such as Zoom. The service is provided for reduction/analysis of both PI and archival data. Please contact the Helpdesk for details on how to receive the support, required analysis environment etc.

You can check if the (virtual) F2F service is suited for your case before applying in the Helpdesk by looking at the example cases below for the F2F support.
  • There are no researchers who are familiar with ALMA data in the research group including the applicant. The scientific purpose is clear. The data to be reduced/analyzed already exist.
  • The applicant needs to handle complex data with no previous experience of such reduction. Communication with EA ARC through Helpdesk is expected to be very inefficient.
  • The data reduction/analysis already failed (including the situation where the required level of the result is not obtained or it is difficult to make a decision on the reliability of the reduction/analysis). Consulting the ARC via Helpdesk is expected to be very inefficient.
Please note that depending on the application content, the support may not be (virtual) F2F, but normal Helpdesk support.

For example,
  • Data are analyzed without serious problem but the user has questions for a part of data or reduction.
    ⇒ Iterations in the Helpdesk can be sufficient. Please submit a Helpdesk ticket to "Data Reduction (EA)" department.
  • does not run.
    ⇒ In most cases, data downloading failed. Please try the download again. Please ask Helpdesk if you failed multiple times.
  • The user does not have the environment for the old version of CASA while it is necessary for running
    ⇒ We can deliver the calibrated MS if conditions are met. Please ask Helpdesk.
If you are not sure if the F2F support is a good option for you... ⇒ Please contact the Helpdesk. The staff will guide you. Please describe what you want, what are the issues you have clearly in the Helpdesk ticket.

After the Application

The assigned ARC staff will contact the applicant in about 1 week after receiving the application. Please discuss with the assigned staff such as about the reduction environment, how to communicate during the support period, and the date and time for the support. Depending on the progress of analysis, you will be able to set the date and time accordingly. If you wish to be supported virtually, as a general guideline, ~2-3 hours/day during ~one week period is expected although may be decided based on the discussion with the assigned staff.
If you wish to come to NAOJ for the F2F and wish to request the travel support, please also tell it to the assigned ARC staff.

Reduction / Analysis Environment

The reduction/analysis environment can be either the user's own PC or the multi-wavelength analysis system MDAS (an account required) at the NAOJ Astronomical Data Center. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages for the remote support, so the user can make a decision in consultation with the ARC staff. Here are some notes for virtual F2F:
  • Own PC
    The user and the ARC staff can share the images/plots/logs in the shared screen via a video conference system, thus please make sure that the video system (Zoom) is available for the PC. If data transfer (in particular for raw data) is necessary in advance, please keep in mind that it will take long time depending on the data size. Please consult with the assigned staff on how to share the data.
    The user will need to apply for an account in advance if they do not have yet. It will take about a week from application to receive an account information by mail. An account can only be issued for those who belong to an institution in Japan. Depending on the network speed, it may take a long time to operate/check images from the user's terminal, but the ARC staff can check the analysis status by entering MDAS.

Requirements for the Support

Since Linux is used for the reduction/analysis, the applicant needs to use basic command operation of Linux. Also, since it is supported remotely, it is a condition that a video conference system such as Zoom can be used without problems with the reduction/analysis environment. It is expected that the screen may be shared to check the images, plots, scripts etc during the support. This online support is a trial and it may not progress smoothly. We apologize any inconvenience in advance.

How to Apply

Please apply for the support using the Helpdesk
  1. Login to Helpdesk
  2. Click "Submit a Ticket"
  3. Select "Face to Face Support (EA)" for a Department
  4. Fill the form or skip if you are not sure ("Purpose of Visit:" is mandatory but you can also show details in the main text at (3)]
  5. Put "Virtual F2F request" in the subject if you want to take the support remotely (Any subject is fine for the real F2F)
  6. Write the following items in the main text box
  7. Click "Submit"
====== Please use the following form to fill the main text box of the ticket ======
(1) Affiliation, position:
  [e.g., XXX University, student (M1)] 

(2) Science field:  
  [e.g., nearby galaxy, star formation etc]

(3) Research purpose and the support which you would like like: 
  [This can be skipped if already provided in the field of "Purpose of Visit". Please provide detailed information on what kind of support you would like.]

(4) Timescale of submitting a paper related to the data reduction/analysis for this support: 

(5) Data (project code / SB name): 
  [e.g., 2011.0.0010.S /  HD100_a_03_TM1]

(6) Experience of ALMA data reduction with CASA:
  [e.g., I have done pipeline calibration/imaging. I have done the tutorials on the web. ] 

(7) Reduction environment (please leave what you want):
      own PC   /    MDAS at NAOJ ADC   /   Not decided yet
   Note: You can decide later. You need to apply for an account for MDAS (if you have not had yet). 

(8) Other comments/requests if any:  


Last Update: 2023.6.19