CICADA Planning Documents

This page is a repository for the planning documents generated in setting up and managing the program. Feel free to add your $0.02 worth anywhere in here.

Program Charter

This section of the planning documents page is created as a collaboration page to allow project stakeholders to contribute to the definition of the project. Once the finalized project charter is approved, it will be attached to the wiki page.

Overview of deliverables

The CICADA program was born from a desire to do rapid development work on Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) for astronomical applications. The original applications being investigated were RFI excision and cancellation, by Fisher and Lacasse, and Pulsar processors, proposed by Ransom et. al. These ideas were fueled by presentations at the GBT New Instrumentation Workshop, and helped along by Ron Duplain's University of Cincinnati senior Project proposal.

Program Justification

If this program's heritage is a little suspect, the need for a better way to design digital signal processors is not in question. Green Bank's Spectrometer is more than 15 years old at this point, and all its functions are still not complete. This is due to many factors, but one factor is the complexity of the machine, its having been designed to do pretty much anything anyone could think of doing. In order to do more science with the GBT, better pulsar machines, higher resolution, higher dynamic range spectrometers, and backends for focal plane arrays are needed. These requirements are driving the creation of this program. It is necessary, for cost containment and for the sake of getting machines built, that there be standardized hardware and software platforms that can be used to build these massive signal processing and data collection machines. The CICADA program is an attempt by Green Bank and CDL to organize the efforts and try to assure the best value for the Observatory for the money and effort expended.

Specific Objectives and success criteria

The program will be deemed successful if the items on the bulleted list below the objectives are successfully completed.
  1. NRAO gains the ability to quickly build and deploy signal processing systems to meet the needs of the users.
    • Time to deployment is reduced to months instead of years
    • Leverage of using common hardware reduces cost from that of custom systems
    • Leverage of using common development systems reduces staff effort costs.
  2. Projects undertaken under the umbrella of this program are successful.
    • Enable new and inovative research
    • On time
    • On budget
    • Meet specifications
    • Available for use by all astronomers (Common-user instruments)
  3. Community contributions are recognized
    • Papers are presented at conferences
    • Hardware and software designs contributed back to CASPER and accepted for inclusion.
    • Graduate and undergraduate students participate and write papers on the program.

Primary Stakeholders

The CICADA program is primarily organized to coordinate the NRAO's CDL and Green Bank efforts to build upon the CASPER project's hardware and software. In the future, this coordination should be expanded to include all NRAO sites interested in using this technology. Given this, the primary stakeholders in the CICADA project include:
  1. Project Managers and Project Teams working on digital backends
  2. Scientists interested in pushing the state of the art in signal processing
  3. The Director's office
  4. Site Directors interested in upgrading or building new digital backends
  5. Site Program Managers
  6. Engineers and students interested in DSP systems

Key Assumptions

A key assumption of the program is that the majority of funding required to build backends will come from specific subsidiary project authorizations. The CICADA program itself acts as a clearinghouse of information, a coordinating body, and a repository of knowledge gained through successful completion of these projects. A small amount of funding is required for travel, salaries of the Program Manager and team members, and maintenance of shared software tools and computers used in the projects.

Program Charter Approval

Approval of the charter means that the program is authorized to proceed, and commit funds and labor hours to the project.

  • Approved by CICADA Team Members
    • DONE Paul Demorest
    • DONE John Ford
    • DONE Glen Langston
    • DONE Randy McCullough
    • DONE Scott Ransom
    • DONE Jason Ray

  • Approved by GBT Program Management
    • ALERT! Karen O'Neil
    • ALERT! Richard Prestage

  • Use %X% not approve (will display ALERT!), Use %Y% approve (will display DONE)

Program Scope

Scope of the program refers to the activities that it will need to participate in. The scope is defined by the Work Breakdown Structure and the program activities.

Scope Management Plan

This ongoing program will morph as needed to manage the CICADA program. Its size will vary as its funding, personnel allocations, and its mission change. Changes in mission will be accepted only by the program manager in consultation with GBT Program Management (Currently K. O'Neil and R. Prestage), along with the program's team members. Increases in scope will not be accepted unless a clear source of additional resources to handle the increased scope is provided with the request.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The WBS for this program is mostly management. Much of the work of this involves coordinating with internal and external groups using and developing DSP technology. The following will be provided by this program:
  • Development Laboratory Management
  • Deployment Management
  • External Collaboration Management
  • Common Instrument Development Management
  • Design Assistance
  • Specification Reviews

Program Activities

  • Maintain Xilinx and Mathworks software workstations
  • Maintain and procure development system hardware
  • Provide engineering and scientific review of subproject plans and designs
  • Provide engineering and scientific collaboration with external groups

Project Schedule

This program is an ongoing effort. Sub-projects underway are managed at their own levels. Nevertheless, some milestones can be generated for measuring the success of the program.

Development systems fully operational

  • iBOB's and iADC's delivered and functional
    • 15 July 2007 DONE
  • 10 GbE switches in place
    • 30 August 2007 DONE
  • BEE2 systems delivered and functional
    • 1 August 2007 DONE
  • Development Systems (Mathworks, Xilinx, Casper) software in place and maintained
    • 15 July 2007 DONE
  • Data collection machines specified and ordered
    • 15 August 2007 DONE

Subprojects under development

At this time, 3 subprojects are under active development, with a fourth waiting in the wings for engineering effort. This activity is ongoing. See individual program plans for schedules.
  • Continuation of the University of Cincinatti's pulsar machine efforts In planning stages
  • 43m Transient Event detector. Underway
  • 43m WVU Pulsar backend Awaiting PS and PE effort (WVU personnel)
  • A high resolution wideband spectrometer with possible applications to a K band focal plan array, and which could also be used with current front-ends to do high-resolution wideband spectroscopy. Awaiting engineering/planning effort

Collaboration infrastructure in place for external and NRAO collaborators.

We have decided to use this wiki for collaboration. Links will be established between the CICADA group and the NRAO group in Socorro working on iBOB2, and with the Pulsar meachine group that formed at Berkeley's Casper workshop. In progress. Expect substantial connections and collaborations by 30 July 2007.

Estimated Costs

Annual costs for this program will vary according to the levels available from engineers and scientists. M&S costs will be mainly for acquisition and maintenance of software licenses. Given below are the minimum necessary to maintain viability of the program

Personnel costs

  • Management 0.1 FTE
  • Engineering 0.5 FTE
  • Science 0.1 FTE
  • Undergraduate co-op students 0.5 FTE

M&S costs

  • Computer hardware $8K
  • Computer software $10K
  • Upgrades to Lab HW $15K
  • Miscellaneous stuff $10K
Total of $43K per year

Initial setup costs

These items are needed to jump-start the effort. They are needed to produce any high-end machines.
  • Computer backends
    • Computers capable of handling 10 GbE streams to disk. 30K
  • Network hardware
    • 10Gb Ethernet switches $15K
  • Electronics Support $10K
Total of $55K for startup expenses. The possibility exists for donations of equipment, but I wouldn't count on it.

Program Plan Approvals

  • Approved by CICADA Team Management
    • DONE John Ford
    • DONE Glen Langston
    • DONE Randy McCullough
  • Approved by GBT Program Management
    • ALERT! Karen O'Neil
    • ALERT! Richard Prestage

Current Request for effort allocations

  • Management
    • J. Ford 0.1 FTE
  • Engineering
    • J. Ford 0.1 FTE
    • J. Ray 0.1 FTE
    • R. McCullough 0.1 FTE
    • Software Engineer 0.2 FTE
  • Science
    • G. Langston 0.1 FTE
  • Student Support
    • Patrick Brandt, Brandon Rumberg
    • Recruiting for co-op position for fall/summer

-- JohnFord - 18 Jun 2007
Topic revision: r13 - 2009-10-19, CarolynWhite
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