Outsmarting the Atmospheric Turbulence for Ground-Based Telescopes Using the Stochastic Levenberg-Marquardt Method

Y. Hong, El Houcine Bergou, N. Doucet, H. Zhang, J. Cranney, Hatem Ltaief, D. Gratadour, F. Rigaut, David E. Keyes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


One of the main challenges for ground-based optical astronomy is to compensate for atmospheric turbulence in near real-time. The goal is to obtain images as close as possible to the diffraction limit of the telescope. This challenge is addressed on the latest generation of giant optical telescopes by deploying multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) systems performing predictive tomography of the turbulence and multilayer compensation. Such complex systems require a high fidelity estimate of the turbulence profile above the telescope, to be updated regularly during operations as turbulence conditions evolve. In this paper, we modify the traditional Levenberg-Marquardt (LM) algorithm by considering stochastically chosen subsystems of the full problem to identify the required parameters efficiently, while coping with the real-time challenge. While LM operates on the full set data samples, the resulting Stochastic LM (SLM) method randomly selects subsamples to compute corresponding approximate gradients and Hessians. Hence, SLM reduces the algorithmic complexity per iteration and shortens the overall time to solution, while maintaining LM’s numerical robustness. We present a new convergence analysis for SLM, implement the algorithm with optimized GPU kernels, and deploy it on shared-memory systems with multiple GPU accelerators. We assess SLM in the adaptive optics system configurations in the context of the MCAO-Assisted Visible Imager & Spectrograph (MAVIS) instrument for the Very Large Telescope (VLT). We demonstrate performance superiority of SLM over the traditional LM algorithm and the classical stochastic first-order methods. At the scale of VLT AO, SLM finishes the optimization process and accurately retrieves the parameters (e.g., turbulence strength and wind speed profiles) in less than a second using up to eight NVIDIA A100 GPUs, which permits high acuity real-time throughput over a night of observations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication27th International European Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing
PublisherAccepted by Springer
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-05-03
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank NVIDIA for remote hardware access.


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