T. Baumbach, V. Altapova, D. Hänschke, T. dos Santos Rolo, A. Ershov, L. Helfen, T. van de Kamp, M. Weber, A. Kopmann, S. Chilingaryan, I. Dalinger, A. Myagotin, V. Asadchikov, A. Buzmakov, S. Tsapko, UFO collaboration

Final report, BMBF Programme: “Development and Use of Accelerator-Based Photon Sources”, 2014

Executive summary

Recent progress in X-ray optics, detector technology, and the tremendous increase of processing speed of commodity computational architectures gives rise to a paradigm shift in synchrotron X-ray imaging. The UFO project aims to enable a novel class of experiments combining intelligent detector systems, vast computational power, and so- phisticated algorithms. The on-line assessment of sample dynamics will make active image-based control possible, give rise to unprecedented image quality, and will provide new insights into so far inaccessible scientific phenomena.

A demonstrator for high-speed tomography has been developed and extensively used. The system includes critical components like computation infrastructure, reconstruction algorithms and detector system and proved that time-resolved tomography is feasible. Based on these results the final design of the UFO experimental station has been revised and several upgrades have been included to enable further imaging techniques.

A flexible and fully automated detector system for a set of up to three complementary cameras has been designed, constructed and commissioned. A new platform for smart scientific cameras, the UFO-DAQ framework, has been realized. It is a unique rapid-prototyping environment to turn scientific image sensors into intelligent smart cam- era systems. Central features are the modular sensor interface, an open embedded processing framework and high-speed PCI Express links to the readout server. The UFO-DAQ framework seamlessly integrates in the UFO parallel computing framework.
The UFO project demonstrated that high-end graphics processor units (GPUs) are an ideal platform for a new generation of online monitoring systems for synchrotron appli- cations with high data rates. A powerful computing infrastructure based on GPUs and real-time storage has been developed. Optimized reconstruction algorithms reach a throughput of 1 GB/s with a single GPU server. Generalized reconstruction algorithms include also laminography with tilted rotation axis.

Highly optimized reconstruction and image processing algorithms are key for real-time monitoring and efficient data analysis. In order to manage these algorithms the UFO parallel computing framework has been developed. It supports the implementation of efficient algorithms as well as the development of data processing workflows based on these. It automatically selects the best code depending on the available comput- ing resources. With its clear modular structure the framework is ideally suited as an exchange platform for optimized algorithms for parallel computing architectures. The code published under open source license is well-recognized by the synchrotron community.

The UFO project has been performed in close collaboration with three Russian part- ners. Various collaborating meetings have been organized and a number of scientists visited the partners partner institutions. The focus of the Russian contribution has been the smart camera platform and algorithm development. The results of the UFO project have been reported at several national and international workshops and conferences. The UFO project contributes with developments like the UFO-DAQ framework or its GPU computing environment to other hard- and software projects in the synchrotron community (e.g. Tango Control System, High Data Rate Processing and Analysis Initiative, Nexus data format, Helmholtz Detector Technology and Systems Initiative DTS).

In summary, within the UFO project it was possible to developed key components for future data intense applications. Most important are the X-ray detector system, a smart camera platform, GPU-based computing infrastructure and the parallel com- puting framework including various optimized algorithms. The potential and feasibility of high-speed X-ray tomography has been demonstrated by prototypes of experimental stations at the ANKA beamlines TOPO-TOMO and IMAGE.