Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Madly Mapping the ­niverse

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
orbiting satellite

The MADmap code produces sky maps from the kind of data produced by cosmic microwave background experiments like the Planck satellite at the center of this illustration. Written with large data sets in mind, MADmap works well on any time-ordered data set

Credit: European Space Agency

Researchers at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) are designing computational tools to create maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). NERSC's Julian Borrill, Radek Stompor, and Andrew Jaffe developed the Microwave Anisotropy Dataset Computational Analysis Package (MADCAP) with an emphasis on mapmaking.

Mapping the CMB requires accurately accounting for the noise in the data. "To make a map it takes a special code to weigh and account for the noise in each pixel at each point in time," Borrill says. The special code is called MADmap.

Although MADmap was designed with CMB data in mind, "it was always intended to be independent of the specifics of any one experiment," Borrill says. MADmap has been used in several different experiments, including MAXIMA, which mapped a portion of the northern sky in 1998, BOOMERANG, which circled the South Pole in 1999, and the European Space Agency's Planck satellite.

Another satellite, Herschel, carries a powerful infrared telescope, and two highly sensitive bolometers as part of the Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer.

From Berkeley Lab News Center
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account