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A UniBoard-based Phase 1 SKA Correlator and Beamformer

Submitter: Arpad Szomoru
Description: With the SKA Phase 1 concept taking shape, several system-level design reviews and sub-system reviews are being planned by the SPDO. For the upcoming Signal Processing CoDR, JIVE and ASTRON staff have produced a document describing how the current UniBoard, developed through the EC-funded RadioNet programme, could be used as a building block for a Phase 1 dish array correlator and a sparse array beamformer and correlator.

The dish array correlator (at the top, design by Paul Boven) makes full use of the excellent processing and switching capabilities of the UniBoard (only 4 boards providing the functionality of a non-blocking 128 10G port switch, with a current list price of ~0.5 Meuro).

The sparse array correlator and beamformer (by Andre Gunst) uses a backplane of the type that will be developed for Apertif. Processing the multiple beams of a sparse array will clearly pose more of a computational challenge than the dish array. It should be stressed however that the solution proposed in this document is based on currently available hardware.

UniBoard2, which hopefully will get funded in RadioNet3, will make use of 28nm technology and explore various power saving measures that will lead to a much more powerful and power efficient computing platform by the time SKA construction actually gets underway.
Copyright: The UniBoard collaboration
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