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Research improves the stability of timescale computation

A paper entitled "A new approach to UTC calculation by means of the Kalman filter" has been published in Metrologia following a collaborative research project in the BIPM Time Department.

The research into a new approach to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) calculation by means of the Kalman filter was carried out as a collaborative venture between the BIPM Time Department and the Department of Mathematics at the University of Turin (Italy). An ensemble of atomic clocks that participate in UTC was used to successfully analyse and test the potential of this new method.

The work was carried out at the BIPM by Ms Federica Parisi (University of Turin) under the supervision of Dr Gianna Panfilo, the physicist in the BIPM Time Department responsible for the algorithm used in the calculation of UTC. The aim of her work at the BIPM was to investigate the potential of the Kalman filter in the time and frequency domain. In particular, the application of the Kalman filter on UTC was investigated as a model for the prediction of atomic clock behaviour. Through the Kalman filter procedure it is possible to correct the clocks using their estimated error and to compute a weighted average of their corrected values, with weights chosen according to the current weighting algorithm. This allows the computation of a timescale with a better stability than those derived from single clocks.

Parisi F. and Panfilo G., A new approach to UTC calculation by means of the Kalman filter, Metrologia, 2016, 53(5), 1185-1192.

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