Spotting radio transients in real-time with the help of GPUs

Ben Barsdell (Swinburne University of Technology), Matthew Bailes (Swinburne University of Technology), Christopher Fluke (Swinburne University of Technology), David Barnes (Monash University)


Exploration of the time-domain radio sky has huge potential for advancing our knowledge of the dynamic universe. Past surveys have discovered large numbers of pulsars, rotating radio transients and other transient radio phenomena; however, they have typically relied on off-line processing to cope with the high data rate. This paradigm rules out the possibility of obtaining high-resolution base-band dumps of significant events or of performing immediate follow-up observations, limiting analysis power to what can be gleamed from detection data alone. To overcome this limitation, real-time processing and detection of transient radio events is needed. By exploiting the significant computing power of modern graphics processing units (GPUs), we have developed a transient-detection pipeline that runs in real-time on data from the Parkes radio telescope. In this talk I will discuss the algorithms used our pipeline, the details of their implementation on the GPU and the challenges posed by the presence of radio frequency interference, before concluding with the presentation of some early results from the system.

Slides in PDF format

Paper ID: O05

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