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Digital Signal Processing using Stream High Performance Computing: A 512-input Broadband Correlator for Radio Astronomy

J. Kocz, L.J Greenhill, B.R. Barsdell, D. Price, G. Bernardi, S. Bourke, M.A. Clark, J. Craig, M. Dexter, J. Dowell, T. Eftekhari, S. Ellingson, G. Hallinan, J. Hartman, A. Jameson, D. MacMahon, G. Taylor, F. Schinzel, D. Werthimer
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA
arXiv:1411.3751 [astro-ph.IM], (7 Jan 2015)

@article{kocz2015digital,

   title={Digital Signal Processing using Stream High Performance Computing: A 512-input Broadband Correlator for Radio Astronomy},

   author={Kocz, J. and Greenhill, L.J and Barsdell, B.R. and Price, D. and Bernardi, G. and Bourke, S. and Clark, M.A. and Craig, J. and Dexter, M. and Dowell, J. and Eftekhari, T. and Ellingson, S. and Hallinan, G. and Hartman, J. and Jameson, A. and MacMahon, D. and Taylor, G. and Schinzel, F. and Werthimer, D.},

   year={2015},

   month={jan},

   archivePrefix={"arXiv"},

   primaryClass={astro-ph.IM}

}

A "large-N" correlator that makes use of Field Programmable Gate Arrays and Graphics Processing Units has been deployed as the digital signal processing system for the Long Wavelength Array station at Owens Valley Radio Observatory (LWA-OV), to enable the Large Aperture Experiment to Detect the Dark Ages (LEDA). The system samples a ~100MHz baseband and processes signals from 512 antennas (256 dual polarization) over a ~58MHz instantaneous sub-band, achieving 16.8Tops/s and 0.236 Tbit/s throughput in a 9kW envelope and single rack footprint. The output data rate is 260MB/s for 9 second time averaging of cross-power and 1 second averaging of total-power data. At deployment, the LWA-OV correlator was the largest in production in terms of N and is the third largest in terms of complex multiply accumulations, after the Very Large Array and Atacama Large Millimeter Array. The correlator’s comparatively fast development time and low cost establish a practical foundation for the scalability of a modular, heterogeneous, computing architecture.
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