A Real Time Processing system for big data in astronomy: Applications to HERA

P. La Plante, P. K.G. Williams, M. Kolopanis, J. S. Dillon, A. P. Beardsley, N. S. Kern, M. Wilensky, Z. S. Ali, Z. Abdurashidova, J. E. Aguirre, P. Alexander, Y. Balfour, G. Bernardi, T. S. Billings, J. D. Bowman, R. F. Bradley, P. Bull, J. Burba, S. Carey, C. L. CarilliC. Cheng, D. R. DeBoer, M. Dexter, E. de Lera Acedo, J. Ely, A. Ewall-Wice, N. Fagnoni, R. Fritz, S. R. Furlanetto, K. Gale-Sides, B. Glendenning, D. Gorthi, B. Greig, J. Grobbelaar, Z. Halday, B. J. Hazelton, J. N. Hewitt, J. Hickish, D. C. Jacobs, A. Julius, J. Kerrigan, P. Kittiwisit, S. A. Kohn, A. Lanman, T. Lekalake, D. Lewis, A. Liu, D. MacMahon, L. Malan, C. Malgas, M. Maree, Z. E. Martinot, E. Matsetela, A. Mesinger, M. Molewa, M. F. Morales, T. Mosiane, S. Murray, A. R. Neben, B. Nikolic, A. R. Parsons, R. Pascua, N. Patra, S. Pieterse, J. C. Pober, N. Razavi-Ghods, J. Ringuette, J. Robnett, K. Rosie, M. G. Santos, P. Sims, C. Smith, A. Syce, N. Thyagarajan, H. Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


As current- and next-generation astronomical instruments come online, they will generate an unprecedented deluge of data. Analyzing these data in real time presents unique conceptual and computational challenges, and their long-term storage and archiving is scientifically essential for generating reliable, reproducible results. We present here the real-time processing (RTP) system for the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), a radio interferometer endeavoring to provide the first detection of the highly redshifted 21 cm signal from Cosmic Dawn and the Epoch of Reionization by an interferometer. The RTP system consists of analysis routines run on raw data shortly after they are acquired, such as calibration and detection of radio-frequency interference (RFI) events. RTP works closely with the Librarian, the HERA data storage and transfer manager which automatically ingests data and transfers copies to other clusters for post-processing analysis. Both the RTP system and the Librarian are public and open source software, which allows for them to be modified for use in other scientific collaborations. When fully constructed, HERA is projected to generate over 50 terabytes (TB) of data each night, and the RTP system enables the successful scientific analysis of these data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100489
JournalAstronomy and Computing
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Astronomy — Software
  • Data analysis — Physical sciences and engineering
  • Data analysis — Software
  • Development
  • Methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Space and Planetary Science


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