Mercury Computer Systems Adds FPGAs into RACE++ PCI Systems

2/4/2003 - Mercury Computer Systems' RACE++® Series VantageRT® FCN module provides, for the first time, a signal and image processing system that integrates both field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and PowerPCTM microprocessors into a RACE++ multicomputer. Certain types of computational operations run 10 to 50 times faster on an FPGA than on a PowerPC microprocessor. Portions of applications which employ simple, compute-intensive and highly repetitive operations can be directed to the FPGAs, increasing performance and saving customers space, weight, power, and money. More complex portions of applications can be run on PowerPC processors, which are easier to program, so overall development time remains manageable.

Customers seek to quickly cut system cost/weight/size and power requirements while simultaneously increasing the throughput capability of their systems. "FPGAs provide a way to beat Moore’s Law," said Richard Jaenicke, director of product marketing, Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. "The VantageRT FCN makes using FPGAs practical and efficient to use in RACE++ systems, while reducing risk in complex, real-world applications."

The VantageRT FCN is a new design for Mercury’s VantageRT PCI product family. The system consists of a PCI form factor module with one FPGA compute node and two PowerPC processors connected to a RACE++ crossbar. Using Mercury’s RACE++ Interlink modules, VantageRT FCN modules can be configured with other members of the VantageRT family, including VantageRT 7410 dual-G4 and VantageRT HCD quad-G4 modules.

The VantageRT FCN system is targeted at several applications. In medical imaging, Mercury’s FPGA approach has already been demonstrated effectively for back-projection processing using cone-beam reconstruction, as part of a computed tomography (CT) application. In defense electronics, the VantageRT FCN will initially be employed near the front end of radar applications, with similar uses planned in signals intelligence applications.

Integrating the VantageRT FCN into a complete application system is simpler and faster with the FDK (FCN Developers Kit) suite of development tools and services for FPGA applications. The FDK contains off-the-shelf, ready-to-use components for managing input and output data flows and memory transfers in FPGA applications, reducing the time and risk involved in developing fully functional applications which exploit the power of FPGA computing.

About Mercury Computer Systems, Inc.
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) is the leading producer of high-performance embedded, real-time digital signal and image processing computer systems. Mercury’s products play a critical role in a wide range of applications, transforming sensor data to information for analysis and interpretation. In military reconnaissance and surveillance platforms the company’s systems process real-time radar, sonar, and signals intelligence data. Mercury is developing commercial communications solutions for 3G wireless signal and packet processing applications. Mercury’s systems are also used in state-of-the-art medical diagnostic imaging devices including MRI, CT, PET, and digital X-ray, and in semiconductor imaging applications including photomask generation and wafer inspection.

Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Mercury serves customers in North America, Europe and Asia through its direct sales force and a network of subsidiaries and distributors.

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