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Paper: The SAO {AXAF} Simulation System
Volume: 77, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems IV
Page: 357
Authors: Jerius, D.; Freeman, M.; Gaetz, T.; Hughes, J. P.; Podgorski, W.
Abstract: As part of our efforts to support the AXAF program, the SAO AXAF Mission Support Team has developed a software suite to simulate the AXAF telescope. The software traces the fate of photons through the telescope, from the X-ray source through apertures, baffles, the telescope optics, and finally to the photons' ultimate interactions with the focal plane detectors. We model relevant physical processes, including geometrical reflection, scattering due to surface microroughness, distortions of the optics due to the mirror mounts, attenuation through baffles, etc. The software is composed of programs and scripts, each specialized to a given task, which communicate through UNIX pipes. Software tasks are centered about functional components of the telescope (e.g., apertures, mirrors, detectors) and provide a comfortable and flexible paradigm for performing simulations. The use of separate programs and the UNIX pipe facility allows great flexibility in building different configurations of the telescope and distilling diagnostics from the photon stream through the telescope. We are able to transparently use symmetric multi-processing (e.g., SPARCStation 10s and SGI Challenges) and can easily use sequential multi-processing (via workstation clusters). Some of the tasks are amenable to parallel processing and have been implemented using the MPI standard.
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