A simple model of software costs for the square kilometre array

A. J. Kemball, T. J. Cornwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Software costs for radio telescopes have nearly always been underestimated. Since the Square Kilometre Array is often called a software telescope, repeating the usual error would be particularly egregious. We estimate software costs by scaling from the reasonably well-known costs for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. The resulting model has sharp dependency on the complexity of the SKA, suggesting the obvious - that software costs can most easily be limited by constraining the scientific and operational requirements. A bottom-up costing will not be possible until SKA is much more clearly defined. For the moment, we recommend that 20% of the SKA budget be allocated to software development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-327
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Radio interferometry
  • Software
  • Square Kilometre Array

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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