The Cherenkov Telescopes Array (CTA) is planned as the future instrument for very-high-energy (VHE) gamma-ray astronomy with a wide energy range of four orders of magnitude and an improvement in sensitivity compared to current instruments of about an order of magnitude. Monte Carlo simulations are a crucial tool in the design of CTA. The ultimate goal of these simulations is tofind the most cost-effective solution for given physics goals and thus sensitivity goals or to find, for a given cost, the solution best suited for different types of targets with CTA. Apart from uncertain component cost estimates, the main problem in this procedure is the dependence on a huge number of configuration parameters, both in specifications of individual telescope types and in the array layout. This is addressed by simulation of a huge array intended as a superset of many different realistic array layouts, and also by simulation of array subsets for different telescope parameters. Different analysis methods-inuse with current installations andextended (or developed specifically) for CTA -are applied to the simulated data sets for deriving the expected sensitivity of CTA. In this paper we describe the current status of this iterative approach to optimize the CTA design and layout. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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