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Paper: Radio Synthesis Imaging - A High Performance Computing and Communications Project
Volume: 61, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems III
Page: 409
Authors: Crutcher, Richard M.
Abstract: The National Science Foundation has funded a five-year High Performance Computing and Communications project at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) for the direct implementation of several of the computing recommendations of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (the "Bahcall report"). This paper is a summary of the project goals and a progress report. The project will implement a prototype of the next generation of astronomical telescope systems - remotely located telescopes connected by high-speed networks to very high performance, scalable architecture computers and on-line data archives, which are accessed by astronomers over Gbit/sec networks. Specifically, a data link has been installed between the BIMA millimeter-wave synthesis array at Hat Creek, California and NCSA at Urbana, Illinois for real-time transmission of data to NCSA. Data are automatically archived, and may be browsed and retrieved by astronomers using the NCSA Mosaic software. In addition, an on-line digital library of processed images will be established. BIMA data will be processed on a very high performance distributed computing system, with I/O, user interface, and most of the software system running on the NCSA Convex C3880 supercomputer or Silicon Graphics Onyx workstations connected by HiPPI to the high performance, massively parallel Thinking Machines Corporation CM-5. The very computationally intensive algorithms for calibration and imaging of radio synthesis array observations will be optimized for the CM-5 and new algorithms which utilize the massively parallel architecture will be developed. Code running simultaneously on the distributed computers will communicate using the Data Transport Mechanism developed by NCSA. The project will also use the BLANCA Gbit/s testbed network between Urbana and Madison, Wisconsin to connect an Onyx workstation in the University of Wisconsin Astronomy Department to the NCSA CM-5, for development of long-distance distributed computing. Finally, the project is developing 2D and 3D visualization software as part of the international AIPS++ project. This research and development project is being carried out by a team of experts in radio astronomy, algorithm development for massively parallel architectures, high-speed networking, database management, and Thinking Machines Corporation personnel. The development of this complete software, distributed computing, and data archive and library solution to the radio astronomy computing problem will advance our expertise in high performance computing and communications technology and the application of these techniques to astronomical data processing.
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