Chelmsford, Mass.Hastening deployment, Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. is rolling out a family of so-called starter kits for military COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) developers. These kits are VXS (VME Switched Serial) systems.
Mercury's first starter kit in the series is based on its PowerStream 6100 Series RapidIO VXS multi-computer. Mercury first demonstrated its PowerStream 6100 multi-computer in January, after it had begun shipping).
Uses Serial RapidIO
The PowerStream 6100 uses the Serial RapidIO fabric, and is compliant with the VXS (VITA 41.2) form-factor. No slouch, this platform is capable of 761-GFLOPS (floating point operations/s), with 42-Gbyte/s sustained fabric throughput.
A note about the VXS standard. It's backward-compatible with the VME64 standard, providing defense integrators with a seamless migration path to future systems that support a high-speed serial switched fabric. In line with that, the PowerStream 6100 delivers compile-and-go compatibility with Mercury's RACE++ Series 6U-sized VME64 multi-computer.
The RACE++ is based on Mercury's MCOE open-software environment. MCOE is an integrated development environment comprising tools, libraries, and middleware that runs on all Mercury PowerStream Series platforms.
Applications that currently run on the company’s RACE++ platforms can also migrate to the PowerStream 6100 with virtually no coding modifications (in most cases, porting requires updating the system config file).
The existing RACE++ API (application programming interfaces) operate without modification, too, so you can take advantage of RapidIO performance gains without any additional application investment. New RapidIO features not accessed through the RACE++ API can be brought on-line as needed to meet application requirements.
The PowerStream 6100 VXS Starter Kit, available now, provides basic hardware and software building blocks. These are used to develop embedded, high-performance sensor applications for military and commercial environments.
The RapidIO-based PowerStream 6100 VXS Starter Kit pre-integrates PowerPC DSP (digital signal processing), FPGA (field programmable gate array) compute resource cards, and high-speed I/O. This is significant, as many developers spend six months or more of development time integrating modules from disparate vendors, and tweaking drivers and middleware.
In contrast, the Starter Kit lets you plug-in, power-upand go!
The Starter Kit includes the PowerStream 6100 VXS chassis, up to three quad 1-GHz Motorola PowerPC 7448 processor-based so-called HCD (high-compute density) boards (shown below), and two serial RapidIO switch cards.
For their part, each HCD module has four PowerPC CNs (compute nodes) connected by a low-latency parallel RapidIO crossbar. Each CN also packs 512-Mbytes of DDR SDRAM (double data-rate RAM), and Mercury’s RapidIO compute node ASIC.
The ASIC is both the memory controller and the interface to the RapidIO switch fabric. It enables multiple simultaneous packet-switched communications transactions among the CNs. The RapidIO crossbar has two links to two parallel-to-serial RapidIO bridges. From the bridges are two 4x serial RapidIO links off-board, each providing a 1-Gbyte/s full-duplex interconnect to the backplane fabric.
Each HCD module also has 8-Mbytes of flash that’s connected to one of the CNs via the RapidIO compute node ASIC.
The PowerStream 6100 system also includes a host/PMC (PCI mezzanine card) carrier, and a 12-channel digital receiver. Topping it off, you also get a software bundle that includes Mercury's MCOE software environment.
MCOE on the PowerStream 6100 supports Linux and VxWorks operating systems, in addition to Mercury's MCexec, a POSIX-compliant realtime kernel.
More To Come
Mercury Computer Systems also has several other Starter Kits in its road map. Pending products include an RF kit for radar and signal processing for intelligence applications that require an L-band VHF/UHF receiver, and a VXS transceiver kit based on FPGA processing elements.
Mercury Computer Systems is also readying a SDR (software defined radio) 3U Starter Kit, a Cell Broadband Engine Starter Kit, a Linux-based MCOE kit, and a Pentium M processor PMC Starter Kit called the PrPMC.
Note that the Starter Kit Series incorporates critical elements from the firm's Echotek and Momentum Series product families, achieving synergy from those.
The Echotek comprises a wideband FPGA-based digital receiver combining high-speed A/D (analog-to-digital) conversion with time domain and frequency domain receiver processing. It uses Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA processing nodes.
In addition to its backplane data interfaces, an Echotek digital receiver provides high-bandwidth external I/O links for composite, multi-channel data processing (beam-forming or direction finding).
Systems configured with this digital receiver provide SIGINT, ELINT, and radar systems designers with a way to handle signal processing and data movement tasks. The Echotek supports a range of applications, including direction finding, geo-location, and commercial wireless communications.
Click here for a comprehensive PowerStream 6100 multi-computer datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).
Pricing starts at about $99,000.
For more info contact Mercury Computer Systems, Inc., 199 Riverneck Rd., Chelmsford, Mass. 01824-2820. Phone: 800-229-2006. Fax: 978- 256-3599.
Mercury Computer Systems, 800-229-2006, www.mc.com/powerstream6100