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Project area/S

  • Slow Transients
  • Fast Transients and Pulsars
  • The Local Universe
  • Cosmological Theory
  • Data Intensive Astronomy

Project Details

Fast transients such as Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) have opened new avenues to understanding explosive phenomena as well as the environments surrounding them, as well as probing the intervening medium over astronomical or even cosmological distances. The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), as a SKA pathfinder, is well placed in the search for such transients. New search strategies are required for the detection of these events and the student will explore a technique using the interferometry statistic of “closure products” (also known as the bispectrum), which is robust against phase corruptions and is sensitive to the entire field of view. Using the existing tools provided by the Pawsey centre in an innovative fashion we can generate such closure products and perform a coherent, and therefore highly sensitive, search for short-lived events. This could be combined with a Machine Learning detection algorithm that we have developed, if time permits. The success rate of this technique will be compared against existing approaches and with alternative instruments, such as ASKAP or ATCA.

Student Attributes

Academic Background

Almost any academic background is suitable; physical sciences, computer science, engineering.

Computing Skills
The student is expected to have a good working knowledge of programming. Background in one or more of astronomy, optics, interferometry, signal processing, and/or electrical engineering is preferred. We recommend python, but mathematica and matlab have been used by our previous students.

Training Requirement
1) Student will gain skills in analysing real world data and understand interferometry and fast transient analysis techniques.
2) The student will deploy the software in an HPC environment, in which they will be come expert.
3) This technique, successful in detecting fast tran-sients, could become a PhD project for deploy-ment for real-time coherent detection of fast transients, improving the detection rates.

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction
  • Week 2 Initial presentation
  • Week 3 Introduction to the tools (VCS correlator/PRESTO)
  • Week 4 Initial run on MWA data with Vela pulsar (high SNR)
  • Week 5 Run on data with weak pulsar (low SNR) & FRB candidates
  • Week 6 PRESTO analysis of Vela and weak pulsar results
  • Week 7 Single pulse analysis of results, and comparisons to FRB
  • Week 8 Report to DIA/CSIRO group on results and for feedback
  • Week 9 Final presentation
  • Week 10 Final report

Additional external co-supervisor

Nithyanandan Thyagarajan

08 6436 8626


Dr Maria Rioja

Senior Research Fellow (ICRAR/CSIRO)

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