High-Performance Image Synthesis for Radio Interferometry

March 26th, 2014

Abstract:

A radio interferometer indirectly measures the intensity distribution of the sky over the celestial sphere. Since measurements are made over an irregularly sampled Fourier plane, synthesising an intensity image from interferometric measurements requires substantial processing. Furthermore there are distortions that have to be corrected. In this thesis, a new high-performance image synthesis tool (imaging tool) for radio interferometry is developed. Implemented in C++ and CUDA, the imaging tool achieves unprecedented performance by means of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). The imaging tool is divided into several components, and the back-end handling numerical calculations is generalised in a new framework. A new feature termed compression arbitrarily increases the performance of an already highly efficient GPU-based implementation of the w-projection algorithm. Compression takes advantage of the behaviour of oversampled convolution functions and the baseline trajectories. A CPU-based component prepares data for the GPU which is multi-threaded to ensure maximum use of modern multi-core CPUs. Best performance can only be achieved if all hardware components in a system do work in parallel. The imaging tool is designed such that disk I/O and work on CPU and GPUs is done concurrently. Test cases show that the imaging tool performs nearly 100× faster than another general CPU-based imaging tool. Unfortunately, the tool is limited in use since deconvolution and A-projection are not yet supported. It is also limited by GPU memory. Future work will implement deconvolution and A-projection, whilst finding ways of overcoming the memory limitation.

(Daniel Muscat: “High-Performance Image Synthesis for Radio Interferometry”. Preprint, 2014. [arXiv])

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