New: VLBI Digital-BackEnd Intercomparison Test Report (2012.12.17)


The 1st International VLBI Technology Workshop is a natural outgrowth of 10 years of annual International e-VLBI Workshops started in 2002. As a result of discussions at the 10th International e-VLBI Workshop in South Africa in November 2011, the 1st International VLBI Technology Workshop will still maintain a strong focus on e-VLBI, including e-VLBI science, but the scope is being broadened to include other VLBI digital systems that are equally important links in the VLBI signal chain, including digital backends, VLBI data buffering and recording systems, and correlators. As such, the goal is to give a good view and understanding of not only the individual digital subsystems, but how they fit together as a coherent whole for both astronomical and geodetic applications of VLBI.

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DBE Compatibility Testing Workshop

The 3-day VLBI Technology Workshop will be followed by a 2-day DBE Compatibility Testing Workshop, also at Haystack Observatory, during which members of the global VLBI community are invited (indeed urged!) to bring VLBI digital-backend equipment for actual interoperability/compatibility testing. Testing will be done using 'zero-baseline' recording and cross-correlation to examine the finest details of the compatibility and interoperability. A similar interoperability workshop held at Haystack Observatory in 2009 with participation from Europe, China and the U.S. proved exceptionally useful; problems identified in that testing session were subsequently addressed, and the systems were confidently deployed for use in operational VLBI systems. For detailed information see Details of DBE Compatibility Testing Workshop below.

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The workshop will be held at MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, USA., approximately 50km NW of Boston.

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Important Dates

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Haystack Observatory will host an icebreaker reception at Haystack Observatory on S unday, October 21, 2012 starting at 6:30 pm (projected end is 8:30 pm), as well as a meeting d inner at Haystack Observatory on Tuesday, 23 Oct. For those participants that arrive early and possibly want to walk off their jet lag, we are organizing a hike up Mount Monadnock. The hiking group will meet at 9:15am on Sunday October 21, 2012 in the hotel lobby of the Hawthorn Suites and the bus will return around 4:00pm, please indicate in the registration form if you are planning to participate.

To view the Program Schedule and Presentations click here

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Registration & Abstract Submission

Everyone who plans to attend must register.

Registration is now closed. The registration fee is US$200 which includes an icebreaker reception on Sunday evening, 21 Oct, lunch on all three days, plus workshop dinner at Haystack Observatory on Tuesday, 23 Oct. The fee will be collected at the registration desk at the meeting. Credit cards (preferred), cash or checks (made out to "MIT Haystack Observatory") can be accepted.

You can view a list of current registrants here.

Abstracts concerning new technical developments in e-VLBI, digital backends, VLBI data buffering/recording and correlators, as well as science specifically related to these technical developments, are welcome. Abstracts limited to 250 words, and should include title, author(s) names/institutions/e-mail addresses. Abstract submissions are now closed.

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Program Committee

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Local Organizing Committee

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Although Haystack Observatory cannot provide financial support for attendance at the workshop, we will send a letter of invitation to attend the meeting. If this would be of assistance for your travel plans, please contact Alan Whitney to request a letter.

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Depending on your country of origin you may need a Visa to enter the United States or you may be eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Please check the eligibility rules to find out if you are eligible for a Visa Waiver.

If you need a Visa, please contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country in order to inquire about the necessary paperwork. If you can take advantage of the Visa Waiver Program, please obtain an approved travel authorization prior to your travel to the United States. For this purpose, use the so-called Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Please make sure that you obtain your authorization on time.

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Haystack Observatory is about equally distant from two airports: Boston, MA and Manchester, NH. Boston airport is a major international hub, whereas Manchester airport is a regional airport. Local traffic from Manchester to Westford is usually lighter than from Boston.

There are several choices for ground transportation to Westford from Boston and Manchester airports. In addition to renting a car, you can take advantage of airport shuttle services. Use the contact information below to reserve a seat on an airport shuttle.

Service Contact Information Price Comments
Flight Line 1-800-245-2525
From Boston airport:
$56 for 1 person
$62 for 3 people

From Manchester airport:
$63 for 1–3 people
$63 for 4 people

***This can be booked online. Under Dropoff location select "Hotel" and then "Chelmsford-Hawthorn".
This is for a shared ride. Both Boston and Manchester airports are served by Flight Line.

Prices do not reflect gratuity. Credit cards accepted.
C & L Air Limo 1-800-247-7080
From Boston airport:
$73 for 1 person
$79 for 2 people
$85 for 3 people

From Manchester airport:
$81 for 1 person
$81 for 2 people
$88 for 3 people
This is for a shared ride. Both Boston and Manchester airports are served by C & L Air Limo, Inc.

Prices do not reflect gratuity. Credit cards accepted.

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A block of rooms has been set aside at the Hawthorn Suites in Chelmsford, MA., approximately 10km from Haystack Observatory.

Participants are requested to make their own reservations if possible. Please contact the hotel using the information given below. Rooms will be released from the block after September 30, 2012; please make your reservations before then. A credit card is required to guarantee your room. Be sure to indicate you are associated with MIT Haystack Observatory with group code 104.

Hawthorn Suites
25 Research Place Phone: +1-978-256-5151
North Chelmsford, MA 01863 Fax: +1-978-256-6633
United States Directions


Studio Suite $84.99 + 11.7% tax

1 Bedroom Suite $89.99 + 11.7% tax

Check-in: 2pm

Check-out: Noon

Daily Complimentary Hot Breakfast - on-site fitness center

Tues-Thurs Evening Complimentary social

Note: A complimentary Shuttle can run to Haystack daily if required (please let Heidi know).

Booking code: LKMH

If you need assistance with your reservations, please contact .

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Local Information

To reach Haystack Observatory, please follow the map and text based driving directions.

Other links to local information:

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Details of DBE Compatibility Testing Workshop

VLBI digital-backend compatibility/intercomparison testing is being offered at Haystack Observatory Thurs-Fri 25-26 Oct 2012 immediately following the VLBI Technology Workshop, and extending to Sat, 27 Oct if necessary. This testing uses zero-baseline cross-correlation testing between participating DBEs to closely simulate actual VLBI observations. The first set of these tests, held at Haystack Observatory in 2009 with cross-comparisons between DBEs from Europe, China and the U.S., proved to be extraordinarily useful at identifying subtle problems (subsequently corrected) that otherwise may well have gone unnoticed and which could have significantly complicated the understanding of subsequent VLBI observations. A detailed report on the 2009 testing is available at

If you are interested in participating in this testing, please contact Alan Whitney. It will be necessary that a knowledgeable representative(s) of each DBE system be present during the testing. Furthermore, it is urged that the DBE equipment be available for initial setup earlier in the week during the VLBI Technology Workstop.

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