LOFAR entered its first operational phase in December 2012, following a period of commissioning.
Beforehand, software and instrumental development and commissioning were coordinated to provide a first set of observing and data analysis functionality available to the telescope users. This was collectively called "LOFAR Version 1.0". Additional enhancements of the observing and processing systems were operated during the first LOFAR operational Cycle (Cycle 0, running from December 1st 2012 till November 14th 2013) and provided an improved Version 1.0 functionality, which was available during Cycle 1. Early 2014, support for COBALT functionality has been introduced in the LOFAR software and the decision was made to call this version 2. This software version will be available also during Cycle 5, starting on November 15th 2015. Detailed information on the current performance of the telescope is given for various modes in the "In depth Technical Information" section. This will be the baseline performance to which regular proposals for Cycle 5 should refer.
LOFAR "Version 1.0" and "Version 2.0" provide a stable, robust system that enables:
1) observing in the LBA and in the HBA frequency ranges.
2) any subset of stations, but the excluded stations are not available for any other work (there is no sub-array capability).
3) up to 8 independent beams in imaging mode.
4) up to 127 pencil beams in Beam Formed mode.
5) the specification, planning, managing, and automatic execution of imaging observations using the Standard Imaging Pipeline in the post-processing cluster up to and including producing initial images.
6) the specification, planning, managing, and automatic execution of beam formed observations up to and including processing on COBALT.
7) The specification, planning, managing, and automatic execution of imaging observations using the 'known pulsar pipeline' in the post-processing cluster.
Four tied array modes will be supported: Coherent Stokes, Incoherent Stokes, Complex Voltages and Fly's Eye mode.
8) a Long Term Archive that supports:
a) ingesting imaging data products (visibilities and images) and Beam Formed data products (complex voltages, coherent and incoherent stokes, fly's eye mode).
b) A search and retrieve function for LTA data products.
1) During Cycle 5, the array will consist of 24 Core Stations, 14 Remote Stations and 9 International Stations. 3 new stations are being built in Poland and will become part of the array during the course of Cycle 5. Proposers who need to include these 3 new stations in their observing setups to reach their scientific goals should specify it in their proposal, such that scheduling of these projects will be adapted accordingly.
2) Observing with the 160 MHz clock is NOT supported in this version of the software! If available by the start of Cycle 5, this observing mode will be offered as a commissioning mode.