The objective of NEXPReS is to offer enhanced scientific performance for all users of the European VLBI Network (EVN) and its partners. The proposed activities will allow the introduction of an e-VLBI component to every experiment, aiming for enhanced robustness, flexibility and sensitivity. This will boost the scientific capability of this distributed facility and offer better data quality and deeper images of the radio sky to a larger number of astronomers.
e-VLBI was successfully introduced in recent years for real-time, high-resolution radio astronomy. Due to connectivity, bandwidth and processing capacity limitations, this enhanced mode is not offered to all astronomers yet, in spite of its obvious advantages. By providing transparent buffering mechanisms at the telescopes and correlator, NEXPReS will address bottlenecks in e-VLBI, overcoming limited connectivity to essential stations or network failures, eliminating the need for physical transport of magnetic media. Such a scheme will be far more efficient, and ultimately greener, than the current model, in which complex logistics and a large over-capacity of disks are needed to accommodate global observations.
Additionally, NEXPReS will develop high-speed recording hardware, as well as software systems that manage the process and hide all complexity. Real-time grid computing and dynamic bandwidth on demand will also be addressed to improve the continuous usage of the network and prepare the EVN for the higher bandwidths which will ensure it will remain the most sensitive VLBI array in the world.