Back to Volume
Paper: Redefining the Data Pipeline Using GPUs
Volume: 475, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXII
Page: 79
Authors: Warner, C.; Eikenberry, S. S.; Gonzalez, A. H.; Packham, C.
Abstract: There are two major challenges facing the next generation of data processing pipelines: 1) handling an ever increasing volume of data as array sizes continue to increase and 2) the desire to process data in near real-time to maximize observing efficiency by providing rapid feedback on data quality. Combining the power of modern graphics processing units (GPUs), relational database management systems (RDBMSs), and extensible markup language (XML) to re-imagine traditional data pipelines will allow us to meet these challenges. Modern GPUs contain hundreds of processing cores, each of which can process hundreds of threads concurrently. Technologies such as Nvidia's Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) platform and the PyCUDA ( module for Python allow us to write parallel algorithms and easily link GPU-optimized code into existing data pipeline frameworks. This approach has produced speed gains of over a factor of 100 compared to CPU implementations for individual algorithms and overall pipeline speed gains of a factor of 10-25 compared to traditionally built data pipelines for both imaging and spectroscopy (Warner et al., 2011). However, there are still many bottlenecks inherent in the design of traditional data pipelines. For instance, file input/output of intermediate steps is now a significant portion of the overall processing time. In addition, most traditional pipelines are not designed to be able to process data on-the-fly in real time. We present a model for a next-generation data pipeline that has the flexibility to process data in near real-time at the observatory as well as to automatically process huge archives of past data by using a simple XML configuration file. XML is ideal for describing both the dataset and the processes that will be applied to the data. Meta-data for the datasets would be stored using an RDBMS (such as mysql or PostgreSQL) which could be easily and rapidly queried and file I/O would be kept at a minimum. We believe this redefined data pipeline will be able to process data at the telescope, concurrent with continuing observations, thus maximizing precious observing time and optimizing the observational process in general. We also believe that using this design, it is possible to obtain a speed gain of a factor of 30-40 over traditional data pipelines when processing large archives of data.
Back to Volume