The next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) for astronomy will rely heavily on the performance of their adaptive optics (AO) systems. Real-time control is at the heart of the critical technologies that will enable telescopes to deliver the best possible science and will require a very significant extrapolation from current AO hardware existing for 4-10 m telescopes. Investigating novel real-time computing architectures and testing their eligibility against anticipated challenges is one of the main priorities of technology development for the ELTs. This paper investigates the suitability of the Intel Xeon Phi, which is a commercial off-the-shelf hardware accelerator. We focus on wavefront reconstruction performance, implementing a straightforward matrix-vector multiplication (MVM) algorithm. We present benchmarking results of the Xeon Phi on a real-time Linux platform, both as a standalone processor and integrated into an existing real-time controller (RTC). Performance of single and multiple Xeon Phis are investigated. We show that this technology has the potential of greatly reducing themean latency and variations in execution time (jitter) of large AO systems. We present both a detailed performance analysis of the Xeon Phi for a typical E-ELT first-light instrument along with a more general approach that enables us to extend to any AO system size. We show that systematic and detailed performance analysis is an essential part of testing novel real-time control hardware to guarantee optimal science results.
- Instrumentation: adaptive optics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science
- Astronomy and Astrophysics