“Hunting Pulsars and Fast Transients with the SKA”

Ewan Barr – Swinburne University of Technology, Australia



“Pulsars and fast radio transients are invaluable tools for probing the fundamental physics that govern our Universe. From binary pulsars facilitating incredible tests of gravity in the strong field regime, to Fast Radio Bursts potentially providing a method by which the baryon content of the Universe can be measured, it is no surprise that these phenomena are vital to many of the SKA’s key science goals.  However, to achieve these goals we must first expand the known populations of of these objects. In particular, if the SKA is to revolutionise our view of the Universe by opening up a new observational window in gravitational waves, we will need a large population accurately timing millisecond pulsars, the discovery of which poses large computational challenges. The extreme data rates from the SKA will require new approaches to the process of searching for pulsars and fast transients, as traditional methods simply lack the performance required. These approaches are arriving in the form of new search algorithms that use the data-parallel model offered by Graphics Processing Units and Field Programmable Gate Arrays to vastly improve the speed of our searching capabilities and enable truly real-time analysis of our data. In this talk I will introduce pulsars and fast transients in the context of the SKA and look at the challenges that we face in the coming `Big Data’ era. I will also review several of the newly developed tools that may form the basis of the SKA’s pulsar and fast transient search pipelines.”


Ewan Barr – Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing – bio