GPGPU Technology Sparking a Revolution in Embedded Computing

By: John Keller, Editor for Military & Aerospace Electronics

Military & Aerospace Electronics - March 2013 Issue

The general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) from companies like NVIDIA and AMD is bringing high-performance embedded parallel processing to SWAP-constrained signal processing in unmanned vehicles and other persistent-surveillance applications.

The general-purpose graphics processing unit-a computer chip better-known as the GPGPU-represents one of the biggest breakthroughs in years for high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) in aerospace and defense applications.

This powerful chip, which began life in the last decade as a graphics- processing engine aimed at high-end computer gaming, has emerged as a powerful massively parallel processor, which not only lends itself to complex floating-point processing, but also is proving itself easy enough to program to appeal to a broad range of military embedded systems.

In addition, GPGPU technology is progressing on a technological trajectory roughly equal to that of Moore's Law, meaning its power doubles and physical size shrinks ever couple of years.

The primary designers of GPGPU chips in the U.S. today are NVIDIA Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) in Sunnyvale, Calif. Much of AMD's GPGPU expertise came from the company's 2006 acquisition of ATI Technologies Inc. in Markham, Ontario.

Put all this together, and the GPGPU is becoming the cornerstone of digital signal processing in aerospace and defense applications like radar and sonar signal processing, image processing, hyperspectral sensor imaging, signals intelligence, electronic warfare, and persistent surveillance.


READ FULL ARTICLE with Dustin Franklin, GE Intelligent Platforms GPGPU Applications Engineer, talking about GPGPU processing for complex DSP and other embedded parallel processing for Military & Aerospace applications.