Gaia is now a well established and leading transient mission. It discovers nearly 2000 objects a year from all over the sky, down to about 20 mag, covering all possible classes of transients, from supernovae and CVs to rare phenomena like microlensing and tidal disruption events.
The discovery machine within Gaia is still evolving and year 2018 brings many significant improvements and changes in the Gaia Alerts system and its operation.
With the second Gaia data release (GDR2), the Gaia-computed distances to a billion of stars will change the landscape of transient science. In particular, the progenitors of Galactic transients will now have their distances measured, hence absolute magnitudes can be computed, aiding the classification and enabling discoveries of rare and unique classes of transients, e.g., AM CVn.
Machine learning-supported classification of transients based on Gaia data, in particular, its low-resolution BPRP spectra available for every observation, will boost the success rate in recognising common types of transients as well as the most unusual ones.
The follow-up observations from the ground will be able to automatise their photometric data processing with a new and improved Calibration Server. This will also allow more amateur observers to take part in the observations of Gaia alerts.
The 2018 Gaia Alerts Workshop, the 9th in the series, will again be an opportunity to learn about Gaia and Gaia Alerts, to meet people behind the pipelines and web pages, to find out about most recent scientific highlights from Gaia Alerts and to discuss the scientific potential of this programme.