News / Press Releases

Groundbreaking EXPReS project concludes

DWINGELOO, the Netherlands (30 October 2009) - JIVE and its partners are pleased to announce the successful completion of EXPReS (Express Production Real-time e-VLBI Service), an innovative international project which advanced e-VLBI capabilities in Europe and beyond.

Launched in 2006, EXPReS established and improved network connectivity from some of the world's most sensitive radio telescopes to the correlator at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE). EXPReS also improved the computing capabilities of the correlator itself. Originally designed to process taped data in batch operations for traditional VLBI, the correlator can now process data streams in real-time from up to 16 telescopes at once at rates that rival traditional disk-based VLBI. In addition, EXPReS developed numerous new software tools for monitoring and feedback and investigated next-generation correlation techniques. In short, EXPReS has taken e-VLBI from a nascent technique to a regular, supported and reliable service available to astronomers around the world.

Funded under the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), EXPReS was coordinated by the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) and comprised a total of 19 astronomy institutes and National Research and Education Network (NREN) providers around the world.

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About VLBI and e-VLBI
Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) is an astronomical technique by which multiple telescopes observe the same region of sky simultaneously. Data from each telescope is sampled and sent to a central processor which decodes, aligns and correlates the data for every possible pair of telescopes, allowing astronomers to generate images of cosmic radio sources with up to one hundred times better resolution than images from the best optical telescopes. Instead of the traditional VLBI method of recording data onto disks and shipping them to the correlator, electronic, real-time VLBI (e-VLBI) uses networks to stream the data electronically to the correlator for processing in real-time, allowing for on-the-fly telescope adjustments during observations and providing astronomers with data in a matter of hours rather than weeks or months.

About JIVE
The Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE, is a scientific foundation with a mandate to support the operations of the European VLBI Network (EVN). For this purpose it maintains, operates and develops the MKIV EVN Data Processor, a powerful supercomputer that combines the signals from radio telescopes located across the planet. Through this technique, called Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), astronomers can make detailed images of cosmic radio sources, providing astronomers with the clearest, highest resolution view of some of the most distant and energetic objects in the Universe.

T. Charles Yun, Program Manager
Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe
+31 (0)521 596537

Kristine Yun, EXPReS Public Outreach Officer
Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe
+31 (0)521 596543

Last modified: October 30, 2009