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John Ford September 28, 2009. Casper Instrumentation at Green Bank. The NRAO is operated for the National Science Foundation (NSF) by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), under a cooperative agreement. Outline. NRAO Configurable Instrument Collection for Agile Data Acquisition (CICADA) ‏

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John ford september 28 2009

John Ford

September 28, 2009

Casper Instrumentation at Green Bank

The NRAO is operated for the National Science Foundation (NSF) by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), under a cooperative agreement.



Configurable Instrument Collection for Agile Data Acquisition (CICADA)‏

Green Bank Ultimate Pulsar Processing Instrument (GUPPI)

West Virginia University Pulsar Processing Instrument (WUPPI)


Future instruments

Nrao mission
NRAO Mission

The (US) National Radio Astronomy Observatory enables forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths.

In partnership with the scientific community, we:

provide world leading telescopes, instrumentation and expertise,

train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and

promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.

Aperture synthesis telescopes
Aperture Synthesis Telescopes

Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)‏

Network of 10 telescopes spread over United States

Resolution of a 5000 mile diameter telescope

Highest Resolution of any telescope on earth or in space

Sometimes the GBT becomes part of this array

(E) Very Large Array (VLA)‏

Green bank facilities
Green Bank Facilities

2700 Acre site in Pocahontas County

8 Radio Telescopes on site

National Radio Quiet Zone

150 mile rectangle centered around Green Bank and Sugar Grove

Provides protection for the sensitive receivers on the telescopes

Green Bank Science Center


Configurable Instrument Collection for Agile Data Acquisition

FPGA based data acquisition and processing

Uses CASPER tools and hardware

Umbrella program for organizing FPGA projects

Purchase/obtain boards, software, development systems

3 ROACH, 2 BEE2, 5 iBOB, 6 ADC, 3 ADC-2, 10 GbE switches, servers, etc.

Cicada people


    • Randy McCullogh, Jason Ray , Patrick Brandt, Ron Duplain, Paul Demorest, Scott Ransom

  • WUPPI/43 meter stuff

    • Shilpa Bollineni, Glen Langston, Paul Demorest

    • WVU Folks

Cicada projects
CICADA Projects

Spectrometer Proposals

KFPA backend

Replacement for GBT Spectrometer

Event capture machines

Used for transient events

Pulsar machines

Incoherent machine (GUPPI, WUPPI)

Coherent dedispersion machine GUPPI-2

Casper instrumentation at green bank

GUPPI Software Overview


GUPPI command prompt

Python SOAP client


C++ SOAP client


  • guppi controller

  • modules:

  • DAQ



  • BEE2

  • guppi_daq

  • threads:

  • net

  • disk

  • fold (for folding mode)

  • will also run on GPU nodes in GUPPI Phase II

Unix socket

shared memory


gets GBTStatus

shared memory

100 MbE

10 GbE


telnet over Ethernet

clock input

Clock Synthesizer



no custom controller software



runs guppi controller on Debian + BORPH O/S



Power Strip

telnet over Ethernet



control bits

systems control signals data streams notes/comments .

Guppi status
GUPPI Status

  • Currently available GUPPI Modes

    • 128 to 4096 channels

    • 2 polarizations

    • 100 to 800 MHz bandwidth

    • Full Stokes or Total Intensity Only

    • Decimation in frequency and time in CPU

    • Records up to ~250 MB/S continuously

    • Disk space is a considerable problem

  • Fully integrated into the GBT Observing System

Guppi s advantages
GUPPI's Advantages

Searching: 800MHz of BW, 4096 chan, and RFI-resistance (from polyphase filterbank) will make GUPPI a “Super-Spigot” that will be unbeatable for searches from 1-5 GHz (previously the BCPM and Spigot)‏

High Dynamic-Range Studies: 8-bit sampling, high spectral resolution and Full Stokes will make GUPPI perfect for scintillation studies, HI absorption, Faraday rotation measurements, polarization studies, and singlepulse studies (previously the Spectral Processor)‏

Ultra-High Precision Timing: 8-bit sampling, 800MHz of BW, and RFI resistance will allow unprecedented timing precision from 1-3 GHz for millisecond pulsars (i.e. the NANOGrav project and the search for nHz gravitational waves; previously GASP/CGSR2)‏

Guppi 2

  • Uses GUPPI to feed a 9-machine cluster of GPU’s via 4 10 GbE ports.

  • 128, 256, or 512 coarse channels will be supported

  • 100 MHz processed per GPU at “reasonable” DM’s.

  • Only modification to GUPPI is a new output FPGA personality and software to control the nodes

Future projects
Future Projects

  • Not funded, but…

    • K band Array receiver spectrometer

    • GBT Spectrometer Replacement

    • Transient searches on old telescopes (like fly-eye, with bigger and fewer dishes)

    • Lunar Neutrino project

  • Several 43m projects:

    • WUPPI

    • Receiver project

K band feedhorn array spectrometer
K band Feedhorn Array Spectrometer

7 pixels, dual polarization

21 ROACH boards, 14 ADC's

Needs to be in receiver room

3 GHz bandwidth

Cross correlation between polarizations on a single pixel

“Zoom” mode for multiple narrow windows in a bandpass

Fast dump mode for pulsar use on a few polarizations

Normal dump times of 1 ms

The end
The End

  • Summary:

    • GUPPI is working well

  • Designs available for distribution in unadorned form now (version 7.1 right now)

  • Plan to submit the FPGA designs, software, and hardware designs to the CASPER wiki