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First ARTS busy week

Submitter: R.H.vandenBrink/J.vanLeeuwen
Description: In week 6 of 2017, the team interested in the time-domain capabilities for APERTIF, organized their first Busy Week. A group of about 20 people participated from both ASTRON and the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy from University of Amsterdam to work towards a first set goals of goals. These revolved around the APERTIF Radio Transient System (ARTS), which is the new pulsar-timing, transients-search and VLBI back-end for APERTIF, and around ALERT, the APERTIF pulsar and transient survey.

One of the main goals for the busy week was getting delay tracking up and running and tested. For APERTIF this came at the right moment so it fitted within the APERTIF plans as well, creating great progress for both projects.

The second main goal was a demonstration of the pipeline for the real-time detections of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), with APERTIF. We managed to test and combine various parts of the pipeline, including an FPGAs demonstrator streaming simulated data to a GPU-accelerated development machine, and analyzing the data there.

One of the smaller goals was to move beyond the X-polarisation data used up to now, and to implement and start using the Y polarization. Such dual-pol observing is beneficial for both ARTS and APERTIF. We were excited about our managing a first dual-polarisation pulsar observation, with XY polarization on one dish.

In the mean time, many of the astronomers from API worked on their presentations for the first-ever FRB conference in Aspen, which was held right after the busy week. In various talks, the APERTIF progress was a highlight there.

The team had a very fruitful busy week, where several goals were met. Also people joined who did not directly contributed to the set goals, but worked on other parts of the project. Due to easy interaction with the team progress was for instance also made on the other ARTS sciences cases, and on hardware monitoring by RO.
Copyright: R.H. van den Brink
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