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Dome face-to-face meeting (reschedule)

Submitter: Albert-Jan Boonstra and Ton Engbersen
Description: Twice a year, representatives of the Dome team come together to share knowledge and discuss progress on a face-to-face basis. This year's first meeting was held March 25-27th at ASTRON. Present were 32 colleagues from ASTRON, IBM Netherlands at ASTRON, IBM ZRL and SKA South Africa.

At this meeting, an overview was presented of the current status of the SKA project and of the SKA Preliminary Design Reviews. After these presentations, each workstream reported on their progress, relevance to SKA, and plans for going forward. Overall, we could conclude significant and important progress in all areas. This is also witnessed by the impressive number of 42 publications in 2014 and 14 publications in the pipeline. In addition, each workstream reported on planned publications.

On the SKA front, just after the re-baselining, we can report on significant impact on several areas of the SKA program. This includes design work for the SDP consortium in which ASTRON-DOME leads two central work-packages, and the RFoF work which is currently being tested in Australia. In addition,
  • the "algorithms and machines" workstream (P1) has created a working tool for design space exploration: it was reported that over 350 design alternatives of a specific processor could be evaluated within 50 seconds.
  • The "access parttern" workstream (P2) has working tools for storage system sizing and is asked to move forward with incorporating SKA's regional data centers.
  • The "photonics" workstream (P3) showed first measurement results of an all-optical beamformer.
  • In the "microserver" workstream (P4), South Africa reported on their approach for MeerKat, using small, existing Nvidea Tegra cards and apply oil-cooling because of their short time to deployment (end 2016). Although the delivery of T4240 microservers for use in the Users Platform is delayed, the microserver makes steady progress and the 8+1 system is ready for test.
  • The "accellerator" workstream (P5) reported on an impressive set of implementations of the correlator in GPU/DSP systems. Near-memory accelerators are moving to prototype their implementation on Power8.
  • The "novel algorithms" workstream (P6) reported on novel algorithms and good initial results and performance for calibration and imaging. The latter one uses the Gram-Schmidt approach and abolishes gridding and FFT.
  • Finally, the "real-time communications" workstream (P7) reported on direct remote memory access being operational for SSD devices and a reduction in power of at least a factor of 2.

    At the end of the second meeting day, the team also met with companies and a knowledge institute interested in the Dome R&D, and potentially interested in joining the Dome Users Platform. All in all, this was an excellent meeting which showed great progress and a truly collaborative atmosphere.
  • Copyright: ASTRON/H.J.Stiepel
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