On 30 January 2018, 40 astronomers and engineers participated in the second Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Netherlands Roadmap face-to-face meeting, held at ASTRON in Dwingeloo.
The Dutch National Roadmap is a major source of support for a number of technically focused projects, in which highly innovative solutions are being developed to ensure that the SKA can deliver exciting, cutting-edge science. Contributing groups are located across the Netherlands. Four teams are based at Dutch universities (Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden and Nijmegen), one at JIVE in Dwingeloo, and, additionally, the project consists of ASTRON members from three of the SKA design consortia: Low-Frequency Aperture Array (LFAA), Central Signal Processor (CSP), and Science Data Processor (SDP).
The meeting comprised a range of interesting talks and showed that excellent progress has clearly been made. Updates were given by the design consortia, who have critical design reviews upcoming later this year, and plans for SKA Regional Science Centres were also outlined. The presentations from the universities and JIVE covered a variety of topics. SKA calibration was discussed in detail, for example, in terms of general calibratability and end-to-end simulations, detailed modelling of ionospheric effects, and efforts to realise a very precise timing standard. The participants also heard about advancements in all-sky, responsive monitoring for transient phenomena, plans to make the SKA a prime facility for investigating cosmic-ray air showers (with applications for studying terrestrial lightning), and the development of software to enable VLBI data reduction in the widely used CASA package.
The meeting included time for discussions, in which new ideas and collaborative opportunities were explored. The teams will reconvene at the next face-to-face meeting, planned for autumn 2018.