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The UTMOST: A Hybrid Digital Signal Processor Transforms the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope

Bailes, M. and Jameson, A. and Flynn, C. and Bateman, T. and Barr, E. D. and Bhandari, S. and Bunton, J. D. and Caleb, M. and Campbell-Wilson, D. and Farah, W. and Gaensler, B. and Green, A. J. and Hunstead, R. W. and Jankowski, F. and Keane, E. F. and Venkatraman Krishnan, V. and Murphy, Tara and O’Neill, M. and Osłowski, S. and Parthasarathy, A. and Ravi, V. and Rosado, P. and Temby, D. (2017) The UTMOST: A Hybrid Digital Signal Processor Transforms the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 34 . Art. No. e045. ISSN 1323-3580.

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The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m^2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bailes, M.0000-0003-3294-3081
Caleb, M.0000-0002-4079-4648
Farah, W.0000-0002-0161-7243
Gaensler, B.0000-0002-3382-9558
Hunstead, R. W.0000-0002-3205-8288
Jankowski, F.0000-0002-6658-2811
Keane, E. F.0000-0002-4553-655X
Venkatraman Krishnan, V.0000-0001-9518-9819
Murphy, Tara0000-0002-2686-438X
Parthasarathy, A.0000-0002-4140-5616
Ravi, V.0000-0002-7252-5485
Alternate Title:The UTMOST: A hybrid digital signal processor transforms the MOST
Additional Information:© 2017 Astronomical Society of Australia; published by Cambridge University Press. Published online: 13 October 2017. We acknowledge the Australian Research Council grants CE110001020 (CAASTRO) and the Laureate Fellowship FL150100148. The Molonglo Observatory is owned and operated by the University of Sydney with support from the School of Physics and the University. We thank the referee for many insightful comments and suggestions. We acknowledge many varied contributions and advice from Jay Banyer, Mike Kesteven, Ron Koenig, Tom Landecker, Greg Madsen, Joseph Pathikulangara, Kathryn Plant, Ludi de Souza, Darshan Thakkar, Glen Torr, Jamie Tsai, John Tuthill and Ding Yan. The late Professor George Collins allocated strategic funds for the purchase of the supercomputer in use at the facility from Swinburne University and was a passionate advocate for the project. The CSIRO Astronomy and Space Sciences division provided support for modifications to the SKAMP-2 design.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilCE110001020
Australian Research CouncilFL150100148
Subject Keywords:instrumentation: interferometers; stars: pulsars: general; techniques: interferometric
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171026-101446183
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bailes, M., Jameson, A., Flynn, C., Bateman, T., Barr, E., Bhandari, S., . . . Temby, D. (n.d.). The UTMOST: A Hybrid Digital Signal Processor Transforms the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 34. doi:10.1017/pasa.2017.39
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82695
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Oct 2017 18:32
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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