NEWS: NEXPReS to further advanced computing and networking for astronomy use
(Express Production Real-time e-VLBI Service)
The EC has awarded NEXPReS, the follow-on project to EXPReS, 3.5 million euros to advance data transfer, buffering, storage and distributed computing technologies. The improvements are expected to significantly enhance the "e-EVN Programme", a SKA Pathfinder Technology. Read the full press release.
EXPReS was a three-year project to create a distributed astronomical instrument of continental and intercontinental dimensions using e-VLBI.
e-VLBI, or real-time, electronic Very Long Baseline Interferometry, uses fibre optic networks to connect radio telescopes to a central data processor, a purpose-built supercomputer which correlates data from the telescopes in real-time. Transferring data electronically and correlating it in real-time eliminates weeks of waiting from the current VLBI method of storing data on disks and shipping them to the correlator for processing. This allows researchers to take advantage of Targets of Opportunity for conducting follow-on observations of transient events such as supernova explosions and gamma-ray bursts. e-VLBI also allows for high precision tracking of space probes.
EXPReS's objectives were to connect up to 16 of the world's most sensitive radio telescopes on six continents to the central data processor of the European VLBI Network at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE). Specific activities involved securing "last-mile connections" and upgrading existing connections to the telescopes, updating the correlator to process up to 16 data streams at 1Gbps each in real time and research possibilities for distributed computing to replace the centralized data processor.
EXPReS was an Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3), funded under the European Commissionís Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), contract number 026642, from March 2006 through August 2009.