Monday, May 27, 2013

1305.5683 (L. Bouchet et al.)

Simultaneous analysis of large INTEGRAL/SPI datasets: optimizing the computation of the solution and its variance using sparse matrix algorithms    [PDF]

L. Bouchet, P. Amestoy, A. Buttari, F. -H. Rouet, M. Chauvin
Nowadays, analyzing and reducing the ever larger astronomical datasets is becoming a crucial challenge, especially for long cumulated observation times. The INTEGRAL/SPI X-gamma-ray spectrometer is an instrument for which it is essential to process many exposures at the same time in order to increase the low signal-to-noise ratio of the weakest sources. In this context, the conventional methods for data reduction are inefficient and sometimes not feasible at all. Processing several years of data simultaneously requires computing not only the solution of a large system of equations, but also the associated uncertainties. We aim at reducing the computation time and the memory usage. Since the SPI transfer function is sparse, we have used some popular methods for the solution of large sparse linear systems; we briefly review these methods. We use the Multifrontal Massively Parallel Solver (MUMPS) to compute the solution of the system of equations. We also need to compute the variance of the solution, which amounts to computing selected entries of the inverse of the sparse matrix corresponding to our linear system. This can be achieved through one of the latest features of the MUMPS software that has been partly motivated by this work. In this paper we provide a brief presentation of this feature and evaluate its effectiveness on astrophysical problems requiring the processing of large datasets simultaneously, such as the study of the entire emission of the Galaxy. We used these algorithms to solve the large sparse systems arising from SPI data processing and to obtain both their solutions and the associated variances. In conclusion, thanks to these newly developed tools, processing large datasets arising from SPI is now feasible with both a reasonable execution time and a low memory usage.
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