This workshop will bring together observers and theorists in order to develop ideas on how to use future massive surveys of Galactic stellar populations in order to test model predictions for the formation of the Milky Way Galaxy. The workshop is aimed at fostering a closer dialogue between theorists and observers in order to guide both model development and survey design, thus optimizing the scientific yield of these surveys.
Between 5 and 10 years from now, surveys of Galactic stellar populations will provide accurate kinematics, spatial distributions, and detailed stellar abundance patterns for 10^5 - 10^6 stars. In order for the science yielded by such superb data sets to come to full fruition, it is paramount that theorists and observers elaborate the hard tests that various models of Galaxy formation will have to be submitted to in order to deepen our understanding of the history of the Milky Way and other galaxies. Several questions should be addressed. For instance, what numerical predictions will chemodynamical models be producing five years from now that we can use to rule out different scenarios of galaxy formation? Are the yields for key elements good enough that we can use them to pose constraints on the history of star formation and IMF? How many pop III stars do we expect to detect, and where's the best place to look for them, assuming different combinations of star formation history and primordial IMF? What are the observable characteristics of Pop III stars? How will we use the kinematical and chemical data to tell what fraction of the Galactic bulge was formed by secular evolution of the disk, what fraction from merging of dwarf galaxies, what fraction from in situ star formation? How many satellites went into the formation of the Galactic Halo? The list of questions is of course much longer than this.
The workshop will be structured in three sessions. The first will describe the state of the art of our knowledge of the kinematics and chemistry of the Galaxy. The second will summarize the various on-going and upcoming surveys of the Galaxy. The last session will consist of a discussion of how observers and theorists can design ways of using the expected theoretical developments in order to explore the huge amount of high quality data that will become available in the next several years.