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Paper: The VLBA Correlator---Real-Time in the Distributed ERA
Volume: 52, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems II
Page: 267
Authors: Wells, Donald C.
Abstract: The Correlator is the signal processing engine of the Very Long Baseline Array [VLBA]. Radio signals are recorded on special wideband digital recorders at the 10 VLBA antennas and are shipped to the Array Operations Center in Socorro, New Mexico, where they are played back simultaneously into the Correlator. Real-time software and firmware controls the playback drives to achieve synchronization, compute models of the wavefront delay, control the numerous modules of the Correlator, and record FITS files of the fringe visibilities at the back-end of the Correlator. The Correlator system contains a total of more than 100 programmable computers, which communicate by means of various protocols. The VLBA Correlator's dependence on network protocols is an example of the radical transformation of the real-time world over the past five years: real-time is becoming more like conventional computing.
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