Marten Van Kerkwijk

University of Toronto
Project Title: Next generation radio interferometry for astronomy, geodesy and radar ranging
Industry Partner: Thoth Technology
Platform: Blue Gene/Q

Digital Media

Determining the properties of a pulsar and the interstellar medium through which its pulses of radio emission travel may appear to be an endeavor that is rather different from using a radar to localize a satellite and determine its properties. But both share the short bursts of radio emission and while in one case the pulses are refracted and in the other reflected, the analysis of the received radio emission turns out to require very similar techniques.

Recognizing this synergy, this project launches a new dimension in the industrial academic collaboration between Thoth Technology Inc. and the University of Toronto, to jointly develop technology for using transient radio signals to localize sources and determine their properties, both to better understand pulsars and the interstellar medium and to enable Thoth to provide and commercialize unique radar capabilities.

The project plans to first develop a common interface for the Thoth Algonquin Radio Observatory facilities, enabling the production of data compliant with the VDIF digital media standard, even at very high data rates, and to select and combine parts from the streams at will for rapid transmission and quick-look visualization. Next, we use BGQ resources to develop and optimize the data analysis, following new insights on how bursty signals in particular should allow simpler retrieval of properties of sources.