Welcome to the CICADA Program


Configurable Instrument Collaboration for Agile Data Acquisition: Next generation backends for Pulsar Timing (shortcut to GUPPI), Spectroscopy and Transient Event detection.


NRAO is exploring the development of new backends using reconfigurable off-the-shelf hardware platforms and software tools that allow rapid design, verification, and deployment of astronomical signal processing systems, One of the first applications areas to be explored is developing FPGA based hardware and software for observations using the GBT and 43m. The program is a collaboration between NRAO, U.C. Berkeley, the University of Cincinnati, West Virginia University, Xilinx, Inc, and others.

The program is based on hardware and tools by U.C. Berkeley's Casper group. CICADA collaborators are working with the CASPER hardware and software to research, define and implement astronomical signal processing systems that have a wide variety of applications.

Program Goals

The goals of the CICADA program are to develop the ability within NRAO to deploy astronomical signal processing instruments in a timely fashion, at minimum cost, while supporting collaborative efforts within the University community. We plan to do this by:
  • Working directly with U.C. Berkeley's Casper group to contribute to the group's development projects.
  • Collaborating with astronomy departments to research and build instruments. For example,West Virginia University Physics department members are collaborating with us on instruments.
  • Collaborating with Engineering and Computer science departments to support research into construction of these instruments. Students from West Virginia University and University of Cincinnati are working with this program.

Program Organization

The program is organized into a collection of related projects and efforts. Formal projects will be created as needed, while several on-going efforts will be maintained. On-going efforts include:
  • R&D efforts connected with contributions to CASPER
  • University collaborations to research the possibilities offered by this technology and mindset
  • Coordination activities among the NRAO sites, as well as within the larger community

Specific projects to be undertaken include:

Contact Personnel

Program Planning Documents

The CICADA Planning Documents describe in more detail the planning and organization of the program. These documents are currently just wiki pages, but once the program stakeholders are happy with the documents they will be made into archival documents and attached. Until this happens, the reader is invited to contribute to the development of the documents.

Active Projects

Proposed Projects

Status Reports

CICADA Notes Series

Anyone may contribute to the CICADA notes, which are a collection of detailed descriptions of development and test plans, software and hardware designs.

Shared Designs

The FPGA shared designs are available. Below are the shared designs currently available.


Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
FPA_SPectrometer.pptppt FPA_SPectrometer.ppt manage 12 MB 2008-10-24 - 08:29 UnknownUser Link to FPA spectrometer paper
jfordhpcmay2011.pdfpdf jfordhpcmay2011.pdf manage 7 MB 2011-05-20 - 14:08 UnknownUser Talk for May 20
pulsarLogo.gifgif pulsarLogo.gif manage 36 K 2007-05-31 - 23:53 GlenLangston Cicada Logo
xilinx_ref_guide.pdfpdf xilinx_ref_guide.pdf manage 1 MB 2008-04-17 - 08:43 GlenLangston XilinxRefGuide
Topic revision: r54 - 2016-06-08, PatrickMurphy
This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding NRAO Public Wiki? Send feedback