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APERTIF busy weeks

Submitter: R.H. van den Brink
Description: Two APERTIF Busy Weeks were initiated in 2016, which gave the team the opportunity to have a dedicated focus on APERTIF without distractions from other projects and to have great and fast interaction between different disciplines.

The first BusyWeek was at the end of September and focused on effort from all disciplines in order to achieve full field of view. There were challenges within all groups from hardware to software, but also on the interaction between the various fields of expert. Although we did not completely succeed in reaching all goals, we made great progress in all parts of APERTIF. Also the outcome of the BusyWeek nicely revealed parts that needed focus and attention in order to book progress and gave direction.

The second BusyWeek at the end of November, did not had one major goal as a driver, but two subgoals which concentrated on software and firmware. The computing group put in all effort for being able to use all controllers. This will also help and speedup further technical and science commissioning. The DESP group in parallel worked on getting the system more robust and set up various validation tests to validate changes made after feedback from commissioning steps.

The message bus infrastructure and scripts to automatically setup the routing structure were successfully tested. As were all the controllers separately.
- DirectionControl, controlling the pointing of the dishes
- SignalControl, controlling all the hardware at the telescope: LOG, DCU, ADU, PAC, NoiseSource, and (Beam-former) UniBoards
- CorrelatorControl, controlling the correlator: PAC, and (correlating) UniBoards
- DatawriterControl, controlling the data writers that write the raw visibilities to a number of Measurement Sets.
All controllers also worked together, each doing its own thing, while keeping an eye on the correct timing of the execution of the commands.
A number of encountered issues could be solved right away. Some will take more time, and will be addressed in the coming weeks.

Both weeks were intense and with high ambition. We look back with satisfaction, because nice progress was made and it takes us a step closer up till the delivery of the APERTIF system. Well done!
Copyright: R.H. van den Brink
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