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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

Cover: An artist’s conception of the completed Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). Each of ALMA’s 64-antenna dishes will measure 39 feet (12 meters) wide. The ALMA antennas will be movable. At its largest, the array will measure 10 miles (14 kilometers) wide, and at its smallest, only 500 feet (150 meters). The ALMA correlator, or specialized computer that combines the information received by the antennas, will perform an astounding 16,000 million-million (1.6 × 1016) operations per second. When completed (in 2011), ALMA will be the largest and most capable imaging array of telescopes in the world. Image courtesy of National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Associated Universities, Inc.; computer graphics by European Southern Observatory.

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Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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