News from the Chair

UNM Receives Award to Increase Computing Power for Radio Telescopes

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made an award to UNM and Long Island University for the project: A CPU/GPU Pipeline Framework for High Throughput Data Acquisition and Analysis. This award comes from NSF's Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation program.

Modern computers, including cell phones and tablets, have sophisticated Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) that render the beautiful graphic displays in games. A team led by UNM's Greg Taylor and Jayce Dowell is developing software that takes advantage of these same GPUs for capturing and processing data from astronomical telescopes, which will benefit from all the years of effort spent developing these powerful computational tools. This software, known as Bifrost, provides a collection of software building blocks that can be put together to process streams of data in a highly parallel fashion. Bifrost is currently in use at the Long Wavelength Array (LWA), a radio telescope for exploration of a broad scientific portfolio ranging from the study of Cosmic Dawn when the first stars and galaxies lit up the Universe, to understanding the properties of the Earth's ionosphere.  With this award the team will continue to develop Bifrost to make it both more powerful using recent advances in GPUs and high performance networking; and easier to use for other telescopes. Eventually, Bifrost will be available as a more general purpose framework that can be applied to other areas of research projects beyond astronomy, where large streams of data need to be processed in real time.

Researchers involved include Professor Greg Taylor and Research Faculty Jayce Dowell in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNM and Professor Christopher League in the Department of Computer Science at LIU.  UNM is the lead institution on the award. Other collaborators involved are Professor Adam Beardsley at Winona State University, Dr. Danny Price at Curtin University in Australia, Professor Gregg Hallinan at Caltech, and Prof. Judd Bowman at Arizona State University.