Multiconjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) systems with 104–105 degrees of freedom have been proposed for future giant telescopes. Using standard matrix methods to compute, optimize, and implement wavefront control algorithms for these systems is impractical, since the number of calculations required to compute and apply the reconstruction matrix scales respectively with the cube and the square of the number of adaptive optics degrees of freedom. We develop scalable open-loop iterative sparse matrix implementations of minimum variance wave-front reconstruction for telescope diameters up to 32 m with more than 104 actuators. The basic approach is the preconditioned conjugate gradient method with an efficient preconditioner, whose block structure is defined by the atmospheric turbulent layers very much like the layer-oriented MCAO algorithms of current interest. Two cost-effective preconditioners are investigated: a multigrid solver and a simpler block symmetric Gauss-Seidel (BSGS) sweep. Both options require off-line sparse Cholesky factorizations of the diagonal blocks of the matrix system. The cost to precompute these factors scales approximately as the three-halves power of the number of estimated phase grid points per atmospheric layer, and their average update rate is typically of the order of 10-2 Hz, i.e., 4–5 orders of magnitude lower than the typical 103 Hz temporal sampling rate. All other computations scale almost linearly with the total number of estimated phase grid points. We present numerical simulation results to illustrate algorithm convergence. Convergence rates of both preconditioners are similar, regardless of measurement noise level, indicating that the layer-oriented BSGS sweep is as effective as the more elaborated multiresolution preconditioner.
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