Data-storage technique speeds astronomy-data recording

NOVEMBER 21--Last year, MIT approached Conduit Corp. (Longmont, CO; formerly Boulder Instruments) to develop a disk-based system for high data storage.

Nov 21st, 2001

NOVEMBER 21--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Haystack Observatory (Westford, MA) has developed a very-long baseline interferometry (VLBI) telescope, known as the Coordinated Millimeter VLBI array (CMVA), which allows 3-mm VLBI observations of galactic and extragalactic sources using a worldwide array of millimeter-wave radio telescopes. Prior to December 2000, data from this array were stored on magnetic tapes and shipped to a central facility for correlation. Last year, MIT approached Conduit Corp. (Longmont, CO; formerly Boulder Instruments; www.boulderinstruments.com) to develop a disk-based system for high data storage.

Using the company's Conduit StreamStor PCI-816, a PCI-based real-time storage system, observatory engineers developed a system capable of a sustained 100-Mbyte/s data-recording rate and a 76-Mbyte/s playback rate. Based on this successful development, observatory engineers signed an agreement with Conduit to develop a next-generation data-recording system using the company's 816XF board.

According to Thomas Skrobacz, Conduit vice president of business development, the new board provides a 64-bit, 66-MHz PCI interface and is capable of sustained recording and playback at speeds to 200 Mbytes/s. With this board, PC-based systems can be developed that transfer image data over the host 64-bit, 66-MHz bus or that can stream data to 16 external IDE drives via an on-board front panel data port interface.

For more on this story, see Vision Systems Design, December 2001.

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