ASKAP Technologies: Computing

To generate images requires solution of a substantial number of technical problems. The ASKAP Computing team is currently working towards a complete, parallelised software package for the imaging step. One crucial step is to perform a mixed Fresnel/Fourier transform as quickly as possible. This figure shows the Fresnel transform term included in this processing.

The software systems for ASKAP are responsible for scheduling of observations, monitor and control of the telescope during observations, processing of observations into scientifically useful data products, and archiving of data products.

ASKAP will be quite different from previous synthesis radio telescopes, such as the Australia Telescope Compact Array, in that the enormous data rate (equivalent to 1 DVD every 2 seconds) mandates that ASKAP processing and archiving be performed synchronously with observations. Thus the immediate result of observing is a scientifically useful data product in the form of images and/or catalogues.

A schematic diagram showing the data rates and computational loads for the various physical elements of the ASKAP telescope, illustrating how the data flows through the beamformers and the correlator, through the central processor, and eventually into the science archive.

The processing of the data from the telescope into science products will occur at the Pawsey High Performance Computing Centre for SKA Science, using the petaacale computing system that is to be installed by 2013.


CSIRO ASKAP Science Data Archive (CASDA)

The CSIRO ASKAP Science Data Archive (CASDA) will provide the long term storage for ASKAP data products and the hardware and software facilities that enable astronomers to make use of these.

ASKAP is, in many ways, a data driven facility where the data rates are extremely high. The ASKAP data rates arriving at the Pawsey Centre are approximately 2.5 Gbytes per second, equivalent to 75 Petabytes (PB) per year. This is beyond the current ability to archive data and so raw visibility data and calibrated spectral line visibility data will not be archived. Such high data rates require instead that ASKAP data processing is carried out in quasi real time using automated pipelines to produce data products and associated metadata that are stored and made available through the science archive. The archive can be thought of as the end stage of the full system.

CASDA will include calibrated visibilities for continuum data, and image cubes for both spectral line and continuum data. Source detection algorithms will be used to search image cubes for radio sources and source-related information will be captured in catalogues. Calibration and scheduling information related to the observations will also be stored. The total volume of archive data is expected to reach 5 PB per year.

CASDA Documents

CSIRO ASKAP Science Data Archive: Overview, Requirements and Use Cases, Version 1.0, May 2014 (pdf file)

Opportunities for Industry

Information on opportunities for industry to be involved in the development of ASKAP can be found on the industry page.

Further Information



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