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The Engineering Development Array (EDA) radio telescope is operated by ICRAR-Curtin.

The Engineering Development Array (EDA) radio telescope is operated by ICRAR-Curtin.

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope operates in the remote Murchison shire of Western Australia. A key feature of the MWA is its very large field of view (approximately 25 degrees, or 50 full moons across), which enables the MWA to view many astronomical sources simultaneously.
In order to undertake astrophysical studies that require high time resolution (typically much finer than 1 second), the MWA presently records raw data for short observations then processes the data later using a slow, offline technique. The aim of this project is to combine the capabilities of a new MWA backend signal processing system with a dedicated 100 Gbps link from site to develop a real-time high time resolution capability for the MWA, and to use it for a range of potential astrophysics studies from pulsars and powerful magnetars, through to enigmatic “Fast Radio Bursts” and even (if the student is interested) the Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
The very broad field-of-view of the MWA combined with a real-time signal processing system will transform the capabilities of the MWA for high time resolution science and allow large-scale commensal science programs, whereby observing time for a primary science program is re-used for secondary programs. This capability will change the amount of time observed for high time resolution projects from the tens of hours to the thousands of hours per year.
This project would suit a student with an interest in physics/astrophysics and a strong background in computer science and/or software engineering. The project will require the implementation of computationally intensive signal processing algorithms on cutting-edge hardware such as graphics processing units (GPUs) or Xeon Phi co-processors.

Co-Supervisors

Dr Ramesh Bhat

Senior Research Fellow

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Dr Ryan Shannon

Research Fellow

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