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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Richard Wilson

Basden, A.G., Assemat, F., Butterley, T., Geng, D., Saunter, C.D. & Wilson RW (2005). Acceleration of adaptive optics simulations using programmable logic. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 364(4): 1413-1418.

Author(s) from Durham


Numerical simulation is an essential part of the design and optimization of astronomical adaptive optics (AO) systems. Simulations of AO are computationally expensive and the problem scales rapidly with telescope aperture size, as the required spatial order of the correcting system increases. Practical realistic simulations of AO systems for extremely large telescopes are beyond the capabilities of all but the largest of modern parallel supercomputers. Here, we describe a more cost-effective approach through the use of hardware acceleration using field programmable gate arrays. By transferring key parts of the simulation into programmable logic, large increases in computational bandwidth can be expected. We show that the calculation of wavefront sensor image centroids can be accelerated by a factor of 4 by transferring the algorithm into hardware. Implementing more demanding parts of the AO simulation in hardware will lead to much greater performance improvements of up to 1000 times.