Friday, 15 May 2015

New ADC FMC board for PROMETEO manufactured in South Africa

Figure 1: Two fully assembled ADC FMC trigger boards for PROMETEO test-bench: Made in South Africa..

An improved version of the ADC FMC trigger board to be used in the PROMETEO test-bench has been in development at Wits University. PROMETEO is the next generation test-bench system that will be used for the full certification of the upgraded front-end electronics of the ATLAS's Tile Calorimeter at CERN.

The board was developed to filter and digitise analog trigger signals coming from the front-end electronics of the TileCal. It makes use of two ADC571 chips to sample 16 differential analog signals at 40 MHz using a 12-bit resolution.  A Xilinx VC707 dev-board with a Virtex-7 FPGA is used for the control and data read-out of the ADC board. The 16 data channels to the FPGA have a combined data rate of 7680 Mbps.

Two fully assembled ADC FMC trigger boards were delivered to Wits yesterday. Oscar Kureba and Matthew Spoor are currently in the process of testing the functionality of the boards. Matthew will be off to CERN next week, where integration of the board with the rest of the PROMETEO components will take place.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

8GHz Tektronix Oscilloscope Delivered

We were extremely fortunate to be granted a major funding application from the university last year for a very high end, Tektronix 8 GHz, 25 GSa/s oscilloscope. We also received an 8 GHz differential probe for the oscilloscope enabling us to get the most out of it.

We plan to use this oscilloscope for measuring PCI-Express and other high speed signals.

We don't have any photos of signal measurements yet, but the scope works perfectly so far! Check out the photos below of Oscar just after installation, and Marc when he realized that the oscilloscope runs Windows 7...

Hopefully other staff and post-grads at the university will find this oscilloscope useful to their research as well. We hope to get many years of good service from this awesome piece of equipment.

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Department of Science and Technology dealing with the Big Data problem for Sciences, the DIRISA initiative

A bunch of experts from all over the country were invited by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) via the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA).  The event took place at the CSIR International Convention Centre on May 6th.

DIRISA is intended to connect the data intensive scientific community with the thriving cyber-infrastructure in the country. This entails many aspects of data handling and movement across infrastructure within the country and beyond. This events follows the recent signing by the DST via the Centre of High Performance Computing (CHPC) of a memorandum of understanding with the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG). The CHPC has officially become a Tier 2. See now South Africa on the map of WLCG sites

The CHPC is a Tier 1 with regards to South Africa. Around this Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 centres will be formed. DIRISA will play a pivotal role in this process.

Below is the program of the event:

Prof. Loyiso Nongxa, former Vice Chancellor and Principal of Wits, Prof. Diane Wilcox and myself were present at the event from Wits.

It was a very useful exchange of ideas and feedback on different aspects of the need of researches in terms of Big Data needs.

Below is the Dr. Daniel Adams, Director at the DST giving one of the overview talks.

Below is Prof. Colin Wright, known to many ay Wits, giving one of the introductory talks.

Below a couple of pictures of the invited delegates

Conversing with Prof. Colin Wright during one of the breaks.

Splited into groups. Here is the group from sciences.

Conversing with Dr. Happy Sithole, the director of the CHPC. Prof. Loyiso Nongxa at the end of the table.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Visiting Parsec, a company considered for the production of the ATLAS TileCal's sROD module

Few of us from Wits, Bheku Zulu, Ela Romanonowska, from the Wits Enterprise, Thomas Wrigley and myself visited Parsec

Parsec is a high-tech company that produces advanced electronics for the domestic and foreign markets. We are considering using Parsec for the population of the boards of the sROD (super Read Out Driver) for the upgrade of the off-detector electronics of the Tile Calorimeter. Parsec just moved to a new building about 15k from Pretoria.

Below few pictures of the visit