The ALMA Common Software is currently at its 7th edition, and a lot of history has passed.
1st ACS Workshop (2004)
From the first versions at Garching by München, Germany, the ACS Workshop has been an instance of communication and to learn current tools the framework provides, and what it will provide in the future. The first ACS Workshop was celebrated in 2004 lasting for two days, concentrating on technical talks, presentations of how to integrate ACS with other control systems and discussions.
An important topic of the ACS Workshop is its openness to other projects, others than ALMA. In 2004, ACS was being developed by ESO, NRAO, Astronomical Observatory of Trieste (INAF-AOTs) and Cosylab Lmt. A trend has been set, and several engineers and scientists from different astronomical project were present.
2nd ACS Workshop (2005)
Held as part of ICALEPS 2005 conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and continuing the great experience of the first one, this version gathered ACS development teams together with current and potential users.
The main intention was to introduce ACS and discuss its status, and how it could be used in projects other than ALMA. Also eight publications were presented at ICALEPS, which gave the possibility to further interact among the community.
3rd ACS Workshop and Advanced Course (2007)
Revisiting Garching bei München, Germany, this ambitious workshop was planned as a five day workshop, divided in a beginner and an expert track. The first day was a general presentation of ACS applications, where all projects presented their status. For the next four days, a more practical approach was used.
For the first time, the ACS Workshop included a hands-on programming course. This course project was the "50mm Telescope": several software components that aimed to recreate a simplified version of observatory software. The experience yield very good results being very practical and teaching real problems and how to solve them using the ACS farmework.
4th ACS Workshop (2007)
In July 2007 the experience was to be repeated, but this time the ACS Workshop found another base: Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, at Valparaíso, Chile. The Computer Systems Research Group through its ACS-UTFSM Group was the host of the event.
This was a five day event, where two days of presentations where followed by a three-days course dedicated to ACS developers. Talks were separated in general presentations and ACS technical talks. The practical experience was to repeat in a similar manner as last workshop, creating de UTFSM Observation Software (UOS).
Press Coverage: Ues.cl
5th ACS Workshop (2008)
Celebrated in November 2008 at UTFSM, Valparaíso, the ACS Workshop was again an instance of learning and discussion around astronomical software engineering. Again a five days event, the workshop covered several technical talks and community presentation.
The major difference was the introduction of a basic and advanced track. The basic track repeated the development of the UOS project, while the advanced track further improved it, using the 2007 edition as base, adding several advanced features, such as alarms, error, testing and simulations.
During the course, a discussion on the Generic Telescope Control System (gTCS) architecture was held in parallel, giving a lot of feedback to this reference architecture specification.
Press Coverage: BureaudePrensa
6th ACS Workshop (2009)
Repeating the same experience from last year, the ACS Workshop included a hand-on programming course, and two days of talks. Gathering not only ALMA engineers from ESO, NRAO and JAO, but also from on-service observatories, such as VLT, and new projects, such as Cherenkov Telescope Array, and Gran Telescopio Canarias.
A new project for the programming course was introduced, presenting Maintenance And Repair System (MARS), a fantasy project aimed to guaranty a spaceship's integrity and the crew safeness, using a specialized group of (LEGO) robots that performed all needed repair actions during the spaceship's voyage.
Press Coverage: Guiaplaza, RevistaEI.cl, Vidaempresarial.cl, NAOJ News #202, page 10.
The three latest ACS Workshops have been funded by ALMA-Conicyt Grant #31060008.