Design of a novel X-section architecture for FX-correlator in large interferometers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

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Massey University
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In large radio-interferometers it is considerably challenging to perform signal correlations at input data-rates of over 11 Tbps, which involves vast amount of storage, memory bandwidth and computational hardware. The primary objective of this research work is to focus on reducing the memory-access and design complexity in matrix architectural Big Data processing of the complex X-section of an FX-correlator employed in large array radio-telescopes. This thesis presents a dedicated correlator-system-multiplier-and -accumulator (CoSMAC) cell architecture based on the real input samples from antenna arrays which produces two 16-bit complex multiplications in the same clock cycle. The novel correlator cell optimization is achieved by utilizing the flipped mirror relationship between Discrete Fourier transform (DFT) samples owing to the symmetry and periodicity of the DFT coefficient vectors. The proposed CoSMAC structure is extended to build a new processing element (PE) which calculates both cross- correlation visibilities and auto-correlation functions simultaneously. Further, a novel mathematical model and a hardware design is derived to calculate two visibilities per baseline for the Quadrature signals (IQ sampled signals, where I is In-phase signal and Q is the 90 degrees phase shifted signal) named as Processing Element for IQ sampled signals (PE_IQ). These three proposed dedicated correlator cells minimise the number of visibility calculations in a baseline. The design methodology also targets the optimisation of the multiplier size in order to reduce the power and area further in the CoSMAC, PE and PE_IQ. Various fast and efficient multiplier algorithms are compared and combined to achieve a novel multiplier named Modified-Booth-Wallace-Multiplier and implemented in the CoSMAC and PE cells. The dedicated multiplier is designed to mostly target the area and power optimisations without degrading the performance. The conventional complex-multiplier-and-accumulators (CMACs) employed to perform the complex multiplications are replaced with these dedicated ASIC correlator cells along with the optimized multipliers to reduce the overall power and area requirements in a matrix correlator architecture. The proposed architecture lowers the number of ASIC processor cells required to calculate the overall baselines in an interferometer by eliminating the redundant cells. Hence the new matrix architectural minimization is very effective in reducing the hardware complexity by nearly 50% without affecting the overall speed and performance of very large interferometers like the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
Figures 2-12 and 2-17 are re-used under CC BY-NC 4.0 International & CC 3.0 Unported Licences respectively. Published journal papers I-III in the Appendices were removed because they are subject to copyright restrictions.
Radio interferometers, Correlators, Design and construction, Big data