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Multi-computer suits military C4ISR multimode missions

Posted: 04 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mercury Computer? PowerStream 6600? multi-computer? Alex Mendelsohn?

 PowerStream 6600 multi-computer from Mercury Computer

MIL board and systems supplier Mercury Computer Systems Inc. offers its PowerStream 6600 multi-computer with 716 PowerPC GFLOPS of compute performance in a conduction-cooled enclosure, to help you do the job.

The company says the density and mechanical design of its PowerStream 6600 will enable manned and unmanned vehicles to support the military's Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Information, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) multimode missions.

C4ISR includes radar, image and signals intelligence (SIGINT) processing. The PowerStream 6600 packs the hardware and software building blocks necessary for mission systems to perform compute-intensive tasks such as processing a 3D radar data cube in realtime.

The PowerStream 6600 also has processing capacity to enable radar applications such as multimode search, multitarget tracking, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging and space-time adaptive processing.

Additionally, multimode sensor signal processing can be supported for cross-cueing of SIGINT detections with SAR or other imagery sensors aboard a mobile platform.

FPGA power
The system is comprised of CPU and FPGA processing modules, and I/O mezzanine carriers interconnected via the serial RapidIO backplane switch fabric. It's housed in a VPX-REDI chassis.

The 16-slot PowerStream 6600 includes data acquisition, high-speed I/O, PowerPC compute clusters, and the aforementioned FPGA processing, all integrated with open-standard software. The 6600 box is also built using open and de facto standards.

These standards include Linux and Wind River VxWorks operating systems, Internet Protocol (IP) and VPX-REDI (VITA 46 and 48). The system also uses standards such as PMC-X/XMC and Ethernet.

The PowerStream 6600 is aligned with open-standards initiatives such as the Navy's Open Architecture Computing Environment.

RapidIO throughput
In operation, the PowerStream 6600 supports 34Gbps sustained RapidIO fabric throughput, without requiring slots dedicated to fabric switching. Maximally configured, it can support either 64 processors or 21 FPGAs.

Modules will be available with first shipments. These will include a quad 1.4GHz Freescale Semiconductor MPC7448 high-compute-density card, and a FPGA Compute Node (FCN) board. The FCN will pack three user-programmable Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA-based processors. Other modules will include a dual Freescale MPC8548 smart carrier board supporting dual PMC-X or XMC mezzanine I/O cards.

A software path
According to Mercury, its PowerStream 6600 also provides a path forward for the company's MCOE software environment. The platform software supports IP networking, letting processors be deployed as a network cluster running standard networking applications. This network-enabled software architecture can ease support for multimission computing. IP can also connect next-generation sensors to the so-called global information grid.

Applications will also benefit from having a wide range of data movement middleware options, including TCP/IP, CORBA, MPI, DRI and PAS, all optimized to run over the RapidIO backplane fabric.

Mercury's PowerStream 6600 is scheduled to ship in the last quarter of this year.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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