.... pulsar signal processing programs

SIGPROC is a package designed to standardize the initial analysis of the many types of fast-sampled pulsar data. Currently recognized machines are the Wide Band Arecibo Pulsar Processor (WAPP), the Penn State Pulsar Machine (PSPM), the Arecibo Observatory Fourier Transform Machine (AOFTM), the Berkeley Pulsar Processors (BPP), the Parkes/Jodrell 1-bit filterbanks (SCAMP) and the filterbank at the Ooty radio telescope (OOTY). The SIGPROC tools should help users look at their data quickly, without the need to write (yet) another routine to read data or worry about big/little endian compatibility (byte swapping is handled automatically).

Main programs

  • filterbank - converts raw telescope data into "filterbank" format: a 2D stream of radio frequency channels versus time.
  • dedisperse - corrects filterbank data for interstellar medium propagation to form a "dedispersed" time series.
  • fold - folds time series or filterbank data modulo a fixed or predicted pulse period to produce pulse profiles.
  • seek - searches dedispersed time series for periodic signals and/or individual pulses.
  • fake - create fake datasets in filterbank format.

    Research highlights

    SIGPROC has been used by numerous pulsar astronomers since 2001. Some of its highlights have been:

  • Discovery of binary millisecond pulsars in 47 Tucanae
  • Investigation of interstellar scattering
  • Discovery of the companion in the double pulsar system
  • High-resolution single pulse and scintillation studies of the double pulsar
  • Discovery of radio pulsations from the supernova remnant 3C58
  • Timing a new population of radio transient sources

    Documentation and example usage

    Each program is driven by command-line switches and makes use of the Unix stdin/stdout and pipe feature so that a pipeline can be built by stringing programs together, e.g.

    filterbank 0329+54.bcpm | dedisperse -d 26.833 | fold -n 256 > 0329.prf

    will convert a raw datafile ("0329+54.bcpm" in this case) into filterbank format, dedisperse the data (at a dispersion measure equal to 26.833 in this case) and then fold it producing an ASCII profile with 256 phase bins.

    On-line help can be found by typing the name of each program followed by "help". Detailed information and example usage can be found here.

    Installing SIGPROC

    Download the latest version of SIGPROC here and unpack the gzip-compressed tar file via the command:

    gunzip -c sigproc-4.3.tar.gz | tar xvf -

    This will place the source code into a sigproc-4.3 directory. Go into this directory and run the configuration script:

    cd sigproc-4.3

    and specify the location of the directory for the executable files when prompted. Once the script has run, type "make" and hopefully the compilation will proceed seamlessly!


    Many thanks go to a number of people who have contributed to or made suggestions on functionality to SIGPROC over the years: Michael Keith, Ingrid Stairs, Fernando Camilo, Maura McLaughlin, Jim Cordes, Ralph Eatough, Simon Johnston, Michael Kramer, Joanna Rankin, Avinash Despande, R. Ramachandran
    This page was last updated on June 2, 2008 by dunc_lorimer at sourceforge dot net