Enabling a High Throughput Real Time Data Pipeline for a Large Radio Telescope with GPUs


Richard G. Edgar; Mike A. Clark; Kevin Dale; Daniel A. Mitchell; Stephen M. Ord; Randall B. Wayth; Hanspeter Pfister; Lincoln J. Greenhill


The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a next-generation radio telescope currently under construction in the remote Western Australia Outback. Raw data will be generated continuously at 5 GiB/s, grouped into 8 s cadences. This high throughput motivates the development of on-site, real time processing and reduction in preference to archiving, transport and off-line processing. Each batch of 8 s data must be completely reduced before the next batch arrives. Maintaining real time operation will require a sustained performance of around 2:5 TFLOP/s (including convolutions, FFTs, interpolations and matrix multiplications). We describe a scalable heterogeneous computing pipeline implementation, exploiting both the high computing density and FLOP-per-Watt ratio of modern GPUs. The architecture is highly parallel within and across nodes, with all major processing elements performed by GPUs. Necessary scatter-gather operations along the pipeline are loosely synchronized between the nodes hosting the GPUs. The MWA will be a frontier scientific instrument and a pathfinder for planned peta- and exascale facilities.



BibTex entry

@article { 263, title = {Enabling a High Throughput Real Time Data Pipeline for a Large Radio Telescope with GPUs}, journal = {Computer Physics Communications (to appear)}, year = {2010}, author = {Richard G. Edgar and Mike A. Clark and Kevin Dale and Daniel A. Mitchell and Stephen M. Ord and Randall B. Wayth and Hanspeter Pfister and Lincoln J. Greenhill} }