[LEAPSECS] UTC Redefinition Advanced

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Fri Oct 22 14:36:33 EDT 2010

On Oct 22, 2010, at 11:08 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> Rob Seaman writes:


>> It will, for instance, cost astronomers many millions of dollars simply to restore current functionality to thousands of interoperating systems. I guess that is not technical enough.


> A) Doesn't sound technical to me (Economy possibly ?)


> B) "Many millions of dollars" ? (Handwaving ?)

Of course it is an off-the-cuff estimate. It is hard to get management attention on such issues years in advance. We did get one estimate on the record from a system engineer at a midsize telescope of $3M to update software systems for such a change. Sounds about right to me, but imagine this estimate is high by a factor of 10. That still amounts to $300,000 for one telescope out of dozens of similar aperture and out of hundreds of large professional astronomical facilities of all types and thousands of smaller systems...and then there are all the amateur telescopes, planetaria, data centers, space missions...

"Many millions of dollars" is certainly not hyperbole. Several of us worked on the Y2K remediation for astronomical software systems - a significant effort in our community. This will dwarf Y2K for astronomy.

The hierarchy of working parties and committees of the ITU-R have failed miserably at due diligence. That it is difficult to get people's attention on an obscure issue is no excuse for forsaking the responsibility.


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