Current Software And Hardware Status

In the three years of development by NOAO, MONSOON has reached a level of maturity and is now ready to be released for use with operational instrumentation. The requirements for detector support on these instruments (see Table 1) have been met by the layered architecture which has resulted in a hierarchy of functional modules at the software, firmware, and hardware levels. These modules and their current release status are illustrated in Figure 2. The coupling of MONSOON hardware to different detectors used in these instruments is physically achieved through a small transition board that typically accommodates detector safety circuitry and cable connectors appropriate for each instrument. In this way, commonality of hardware and software systems among the different instruments is achieved and a common pool of spares for observatory operations is possible.

Figure 2. Module release status.

The software modules are generic to all observing and detector testing applications of MONSOON that range from IR to visible, 1 to 256 detectors per node. A small detector function library (written in C), a sequencer code module, and a system configuration file is all that is required to adapt a MONSOON system to a different detector type. For system configurations in which multiple nodes are required (for example, to support very large focal plane arrays or very high gross pixel rates), a supervisor node is established and controls the system in the same manner as a single node would appear to the instrument control system. Synchronization of events in this configuration is guaranteed to maintain noise performance with no specific software required. System and board level functional testing and general detector testing functions can be automated and performed using the MONSOON engineering Console interface. This module uses the same communication protocols as the Instrument Control System interface (ICD 4.0) and provides a stand-alone capability for engineering and systems development use. The Data Handler Interface (DHI) provides a simple FITS format image file or a more sophisticated shared memory interface for real time pipeline processing or data offload via other media types.

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