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Multi-Level Pre-Correlation RFI Flagging for Real-Time Implementation on UniBoard

Abstract : Because of the denser active use of the spectrum, and because of radio telescopes higher sensitivity, radio frequency interference (RFI) mitigation has become a sensitive topic for current and future radio telescope designs. Even if quite sophisticated approaches have been proposed in the recent years, the majority of RFI mitigation operational procedures are based on post-correlation corrupted data flagging. Moreover, given the huge amount of data delivered by current and next generation radio telescopes, all these RFI detection procedures have to be at least automatic and, if possible, real-time. In this paper, the implementation of a real-time pre-correlation RFI detection and flagging procedure into generic high-performance computing platforms based on field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) is described, simulated and tested. One of these boards, UniBoard, developed under a Joint Research Activity in the RadioNet FP7 European programme is based on eight FPGAs interconnected by a high speed transceiver mesh. It provides up to 4 TMACs with (R) Altera Stratix IV FPGA and 160 Gbps data rate for the input data stream. The proposed concept is to continuously monitor the data quality at different stages in the digital preprocessing pipeline between the antennas and the correlator, at the station level and the core level. In this way, the detectors are applied at stages where different time-frequency resolutions can be achieved and where the interference-to-noise ratio (INR) is maximum right before any dilution of RFI characteristics by subsequent channelizations or signal recombinations. The detection decisions could be linked to a RFI statistics database or could be attached to the data for later stage flagging. Considering the high in-out data rate in the pre-correlation stages, only real-time and go-through detectors (i.e. no iterative processing) can be implemented. In this paper, a realtime and adaptive detection scheme is described. An ongoing case study has been set up with the Electronic Multi-Beam Radio Astronomy Concept (EMBRACE) radio telescope facility at Nancay Observatory. The objective is to evaluate the performances of this concept in term of hardware complexity, detection efficiency and additional RFI metadata rate cost. The UniBoard implementation scheme is described.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 15, 2020 - 10:56:59 AM
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Cédric Dumez-Viou, Rodolphe Weber, Philippe Ravier. Multi-Level Pre-Correlation RFI Flagging for Real-Time Implementation on UniBoard. Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, 05 (04), pp.1641019. ⟨10.1142/S2251171716410191⟩. ⟨insu-01551614⟩



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