Since the early 1900s scientists have known that the Universe is expanding but recent studies have shown that the rate of expansion is accelerating. The reason for this is currently unknown; however, Kevin Bandura, an assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering at West Virginia University, has been working on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, for the past several years to solve the mystery.
Researchers think that an unknown form of energy, called dark energy, is causing the accelerated expansion but this cannot be confirmed without first understanding the history of the Universe. CHIME is a telescope project that was designed to map that history by studying dark energy and observing hydrogen gas in distant galaxies that were strongly affected by it.
The CHIME telescope, located in the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden, British Columbia, is comprised of four cylindrical reflectors, 256 dual-polarized antennas for data collection and an F-Engine and X-Engine for data processing. Bandura played a key role in developing the device’s F-Engine, which digitally processes signals from space into frequencies that can then be processed into digital maps of the Universe.