We wish to create using high-speed communication networks, a distributed, large-scale astronomical instrument of continental and inter-continental dimensions, a Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) operating in real-time, and connecting together some of the largest and most sensitive radio telescopes on the planet.
The overall objective of the proposed I3, EXPReS, is to create a production-level 'electronic' VLBI (e-VLBI) service, in which the radio telescopes are reliably connected to the central supercomputer at JIVE in the Netherlands, via a high-speed optical-fibre communication network, including the pan-European research network, G'NT. With an aggregate data flow of up to 16 Gbps into JIVE, we aim to create a unique e-VLBI infrastructure that is open to the international scientific community, one in which access is based solely on scientific merit.
The e-VLBI infrastructure will be a unique facility in the world, generating high-resolution images of cosmic radio sources in real-time, providing astronomers with a reliable and rapid-result service, well matched to the study of transient phenomena such as active stars, supernovae and Gamma-Ray bursts. The rapid results service is also expected to be of practical interest to the geodetic VLBI and precision spacecraft navigation communities. Fundamental to the proposed EXPReS I3, is the need to modify and upgrade the VLBI data processor at JIVE, in order for it to reliably and robustly process VLBI data streams in a real-time environment.
A second goal is to expand the number of telescopes that are 'on-line', connecting together telescopes located throughout Europe, Asia, South America, South Africa and the USA. EXPReS also seeks to design and prototype elements of the hardware, software and data transport services required to support future e-VLBI facilities in which the net VLBI data flows will be hundred of Gbps, with a central data processing environment possibly based on Grid-based computing resources.
Funding SchemeI3 - Research Infrastructure-Integrated Infrastructure Initiative
ACT 2601 Canberra
412 96 Goeteborg
OX1 2PZ Oxford, Oxfordshire
3511 CK Utrecht
M13 9PL Manchester