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JEFF’S PICKS: Compact Rugged GPGPU System Serves up Real-Time Image Processing

Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Gone are the days when processors where the only choice for doing advanced military computing. As one alternative to general purpose processors, FPGAs have become signal processing engines in their own right. But a third choice has rapidly gained mindshare: the idea of putting high-performance graphics processors to work on general-purpose processing tasks. This idea of “GPUs as general-purpose processing engines” also falls nicely into the theme of doing more while keeping the complexity at bay using powerful graphics chips from NVIDA and AMD.

Addressing the complexity challenge, graphics chip vendor NVIDIA created a parallel computing architecture called CUDA. CUDA lets programmers use conventional computing languages to access the massively parallel processing capabilities of the GPU. Aside from serving applications in radar, signals intelligence and video surveillance and interpretation, GPUs based on the CUDA architecture have potential in other application areas, including target tracking, image stabilization and SAR (synthetic aperture radar) simulation. For this Editor’s Pick section COTS Journal evaluated several such products on three aspects: technology leadership, design innovation and market relevance.

This month’s Pick is the next generation A176 Aitech Defense Systems (Figure 1). Released this month, the upgraded unit is based on the company’s A176 Cyclone GPGPU supercomputer launched in Fall 2016 but instead uses the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 to provide twice the performance of its predecessor, or run at more than twice the power efficiency, while drawing less than 7.5 watts of power. The resulting rugged GPGPU COTS system enables deep learning capabilities as well as faster, more accurate data and image processing for better military intelligence.

Figure 1. Jeff’s Pick is Aitech Defense Systems’ upgraded A176 GPGPU supercomputer that uses the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 GPGPU to provide twice the performance of its predecessor, or run at more than twice the power efficiency, while drawing less than 7.5 watts of power.

More I/O Options

The new A176 features the same fanless, conduction-cooled design and measures only 25.5 cubic inches for high performance in a small form factor (SFF) HPEC system. Video encoding is 4K at 60 Hz with decoding of 4K at 30 Hz. Available I/O includes gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, UART Serial and discrete. Multiple video outputs (DVI/HDMI, composite, SDI, STANAG) and video Inputs (composite, DVI/HDMI, SDI, Camera Link) are available. In addition to incorporating the new NVIDIA Jetson TX2 module, the unit now supports more hardware I/O and software options (1553, ARINC 429, Camera Link Frame Grabber), allowing even faster integration to save development time and money.

The internal microSD storage enables more design flexibility to scale the supercomputer to more complex compute-intensive applications. This includes data convolutions and transpositions, image and data manipulation, application of digital filters, image and frame object edge detection, and image recognition and data analysis. Operating temperature ranges from -40 to +70 degrees C. The system complies with VITA 47 levels V2 (vibration), OS1 (shock), MIL-STD-810G (rain, dust, salt fog) and EMI/RFI levels to MIL-STD-461.

Aitech Defense Systems
Chatsworth, CA
(888) 248-3248
www.rugged.com

 

…And the Runners Up:

3U VPX GPGPU/SBC is Single-Slot Rugged Solution

EIZO Rugged Solutions (formerly Tech Source) offers a high-performance NVIDIA CUDA-based 3U VPX graphics processor combined with an XMC form factor SBC to create a powerful single-slot 3U VPX GPGPU solution (Figure 2). There are two SBC configurations, the Condor GR3-C3 3U VPX and Condor GR3-X7 3U VPX supporting an Intel i3 or i7 processors, respectively. Other SBC configurations will be supported in the near future. The Condor GR3 3U VPX rugged conduction-cooled graphics module/SBC was developed for an airborne reconnaissance application where size, weight, and power (SWaP) were key considerations. Its versatile architecture allows for an easy upgrade path of both the graphics module and the SBC. The card also boasts a range of I/O options including 1 Gbps Ethernet, RS-232, USB, and SATA.

Figure 2. The Condor GR3 3U VPX hosts the NVIDIA GeForce GTX-950M processor which offers 640 CUDA cores, 1,271 TFLOPs of floating point performance, and 4 GB of GDDR5 graphics memory.

The Condor GR3 3U VPX hosts the NVIDIA GeForce GTX-950M processor which offers 640 CUDA cores, 1,271 TFLOPs of floating point performance, and 4 GB of GDDR5 graphics memory. Multiple variations are available through customer configuration for balancing CPU and GPGPU performance requirements. The card targets those developing graphics and video processing applications using the NVIDIA CUDA architecture (CUDA 5.0) as well as the industry-standard OpenCL programming language (Open CL 1.2). The card is MIL-STD-810 compliant and supports PCI Express 2.0 (8 or 4 lane) and features DVI, VGA, and DisplayPort++ video outputs from the rear VPX P1/P2 connectors. EIZO Rugged Solutions also offers engineering support pre- and post-sale with the dedication to meet customer needs with design modification.

EIZO Rugged Solutions
Altamonte Springs, FL
(407) 262-7100
www.eizorugged.com

 

3U VPX Board Integrates GPU with Frame Grabber Capture Engine

WOLF Advanced Technology’s VPX3U-GM107-SDI-4IO and VPX3U-E8860-SDI-4IO VPX integrate both a powerful GPU and WOLF’s Frame Grabber eXtreme (FGX) capture engine to create a complete Video Processing Unit (VPU) in a 3U VPX board (Figure 3). Combining these technologies on a single board provides capture, process, encode and display functionality using only one 3U VPX slot, allowing system owners to maximize their per slot investment. The VPX3U-GM107-SDI-4IO includes an NVIDIA Maxwell GM107 28nm GPU, with 1.2 TFLOPS of processing power. Inputs can be routed to the GM107 GPU for advanced processing or encoding, and then output directly using one of the native display formats or through the FGX engine for conversion to another format, such as SDI or CVBS/STANAG. This board uses 25 to 55 watts, tunable to meet power/performance requirements.

Figure 3. The VPX3U-GM107-SDI-4IO and VPX3U-E8860-SDI-4IO VPX integrate a powerful GPU and a frame grabber capture engine to create a complete Video Processing Unit in a 3U VPX board.

The VPX3U-E8860-SDI-4IO includes an AMD Radeon E8860 28nm GPU, with 786 GFLOPS of processing power. Inputs can be routed to the E8860 for advanced processing or encoding, and then output directly using one of the native display formats or through the FGX engine for conversion to another format, such as SDI or CVBS/STANAG. This board uses 30 to 60 watts, tunable to meet power/performance requirements. This AMD GPU also provides support for RTOS drivers, providing an excellent solution for those who require RTOS for safety critical applications.

WOLF Advanced Technology
Uxbridge, Ontario
Canada
(905) 852-1163
wolfadvancedtechnology.com

 

Check Out These Video GPGPU Products Too…

The GVC1000 from Abaco Systems is a rugged graphics and vision system based on the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 GPU. It provides two 10 Gbit Ethernet ports for receiving multiple camera inputs; two MilCAN/CAN ports to receive vehicle data; and extended USB capability.
Abaco Systems, Huntsville, AL. (866) 652-2226. www.abaco.com

The VPX3010 from ADLINK Technology with Xeon Processor D SoC can be equipped with a 384 CUDA core NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M GPU XMC module for greatly enhance performance capabilities.
ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA, (408) 360-0200, www.adlinktech.com

Advanced Micro Peripherals’ H264-ULL-PMC is an ultra-low latency, dual channel, H.264 encoder on a PMC Mezzanine form factor board. The H264-ULL-PMC provides a solution for capturing and compressing up to 2 analog video inputs at up to 1080p HD resolution to the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Part 10) standard.
Advanced Micro Peripherals, New York, NY. (212) 951 7205. www.ampltd.com

Connect Tech’s GraphiteVPX/CPU-TX1 is a VITA 65 compliant 3U VPX SBC that brings the NVIDIA Jetson TX1. It has multiple USB 3.0 ports, multiple GbE channels, and 6 CSI camera interfaces. An onboard PCIe Gen 3.0 switch supports two x4 interfaces.
Connect Tech, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, (519) 836-1291, www.connecttech.com

The RVG-SD1 Digital Video Switch from Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions is a rugged SWaP-C optimized 3G-SDI video switch. The unit implements crossbar functionality such that any external SD port automatically configures as an input or an output.
Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. www.curtisswrightds.com

One Stop Systems’ OSS-PASCAL8 is a 170 TeraFLOP engine with 80 Gbyte/s NVIDIA NVLink for the largest deep learning models. This GPU accelerated server has dual v4 Broadwell CPUs and up to 2 Terabytes of DDR4 memory.
One Stop Systems, Escondido, CA, (877) 438-2724, www.onestopsystems.com