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Paper: Using Heuristic Algorithms to Optimize Observing Target Sequences
Volume: 485, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXIII
Page: 73
Authors: Sosnowska, D.; Ouadahi, A.; Buchschacher, N.; Weber, L.; Pepe, F.
Abstract: The preparation of observations is normally carried out at the telescope by the visiting observer. In order to help the observer, we propose several algorithms to automatically optimize the sequence of targets. The optimization consists of assuring that all the chosen targets are observable within the given time interval, and to find their best execution order in terms of the observation quality and the shortest telescope displacement time. Since an exhaustive search is too expensive in time, we researched heuristic algorithms, specifically: Min-Conflict, Non-Sorting Genetic Algorithms and Simulated Annealing. Multiple metaheuristics are used in parallel to swiftly give an approximation of the best solution, with all the constraints satis´┐Żed and the total execution time minimized. The optimization process has a duration on the order of tens of seconds, allowing for quick re-adaptation in case of changing atmospheric conditions. The graphical user interface allows the user to control the parameters of the optimization process. Therefore, the search can be adjusted in real time. The module was coded in a way to allow easily the addition of new constraints, and thus ensure its compatibility with different instruments. For now, the application runs as a plug-in to the observation preparation tool called New Short Term Scheduler, which is used on three spectrographs dedicated to the exoplanets search: HARPS at the La Silla observatory, HARPS North at the La Palma observatory and SOPHIE at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence.
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