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. Recently (early 2014) support for COBALT functionality has been introduced in the LOFAR software and the decision was made to call this version 2.0. This software version will be available during Cycle 3, starting on November 15th 2014. 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 3 should refer.
LOFAR "Version 1.0" and "Version 2.0" provide a stable, robust system that enables:
1) 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.
2) the specification, planning, managing, and automatic execution of beam formed observations up to and including processing on the BG/P.
Starting the ‘known pulsar’ pipeline will be provided as an Expert Mode, and will involve significant interaction with the Science Support Group.
Four tied array modes will be supported: Coherent Stokes, Incoherent Stokes, Complex Voltages and Fly's Eye mode.
3) a Long Term Archive that supports:
a) ingesting imaging data products (visibilities and images) and raw Beam Formed data (complex voltages, coherent and incoherent stokes, fly's eye mode).
b) A search and retrieve function for LTA data products.
Observing will be in the LBA and in the HBA frequency ranges.
Observing with the 160 MHz clock is not supported in this version of the software.
Any subset of stations can be used, but the excluded stations are not available for any other work (there is no sub-array capability).
In Imaging mode observing with up to 8 independent beams is supported.
In Beam Formed mode observing with up to 127 pencil beams is supported.