Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

Industry Solutions Used:

  • Defense and Aerospace

Vortex Helps the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to Analyze the Deepest Mysteries of the Universe.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) has selected the Vortex data-sharing platform for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a highly anticipated and revolutionary facility designed to create an unprecedented 3-D map of the universe and unveil the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

In the effort to deliver this extraordinary wide-field astronomical survey of the universe, the LSST will leverage innovative camera, telescope and data management technology.  Employing an 8.4-meter ground-based telescope with two aspherical optical surfaces on one substrate and simultaneous casting of the primary and tertiary mirrors, and the world’s largest, 3200-megapixels digital camera, it is anticipated that this 10-year survey of the universe will produce 30 terabytes of data every night.

Vortex functions as the data-sharing backbone to the LSST facility, serving to control, monitor and regulate the data interfaces and ensuring the right data gets to the right place in real-time.  Based on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard, Vortex provides LSST with a federated architecture that optimizes data accessibility and usability.

"We can't overstate the impact and significance of Vortex and the DDS standard for the LSST effort," said German Schumacher, Software Manager, AURA.  "It's not just that DDS makes it easier and faster for this telemetric data to be shared, analyzed and acted upon throughout the system.  What Vortex provides the developers is the freedom to concentrate on the application not on the communication.  That is entirely taken care of for us with DDS.  Vortex was specifically chosen over other DDS implementations because of its superior shared memory architecture."

Additional specific benefits of adopting Vortex:

  • It enables component decoupling allowing for more focused development and testing. Productivity is increased by as much as 16x
  • Without DDS the development team would have been 3 times larger
  • The shared memory architecture greatly simplified the system design

Vortex has been designed to optimally address the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time systems.  Vortex sets new levels of performance, robustness, scalability, fault-tolerance and portability (platform support).

"It is certainly exciting to be able to play a crucial role in a fundamental research program of the breathtaking scope of the LSST," said Steve Jennis, SVP Corporate Development, ADLINK.  "Vortex uniquely meets the extremely demanding requirements of the LSST in terms of performance, scalability, reliability and productivity.  As such, we are very proud of how Vortex is able to support and enable this amazing initiative."

Supported through a public-private partnership featuring an immense collaboration of countries, companies and universities—including more than 400 scientists and engineers—LSST is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and private funding raised by the non-profit LSST Corporation. AURA manages the LSST Project Office.  LSST has been identified as a national scientific priority in reports by diverse national panels, including several National Academy of Sciences and federal agency advisory committees.