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23rd of August 2021
ASKAP Update for August
by Aidan Hotan
The ASKAP Update includes reports on new firmware with improved correlator stability, progress on VAST pilot survey phase II observations, and the recent call for revised survey science proposals. After extensive testing and investigation over the last few months, the digital firmware team have implemented several changes to address the issue of correlator "dropouts" in ASKAP data. Several likely causes of data stream stalls were identified and improvements were packaged into a test build that has been running on the array for over a week. ASKAP’s control system monitoring database logs instances of detectable correlator alignment problems, but there is another class of "ghost" dropout that has only been visible in the astronomy data. The latest firmware addresses probable causes for both classes, with changes to the data stream alignment mechanism and corner-turn buffer management logic. The image above shows colour-coded monitoring data from ASKAP’s control system showing fewer unexpected alignment failures (red blocks) after the test firmware deployment. Date increases to the right for one month. The new firmware was deployed at the beginning of August. Red lines at full height are intentional resets or system downtime. Monitoring shows significantly fewer alignment failures since the latest firmware was deployed. This means that future observations should experience fewer dropouts impacting groups of fine frequency channels.

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