Observatory Expands Universe with Accelerated Technology's Nucleus RTOS

5/8/2003 - Accelerated Technology®, the Embedded Systems Division of Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq:MENT), announced that its Nucleus® Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) was selected by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) for employment in Phase I of the Expansion Project for the Very Large Array (VLA).

The VLA, the most scientifically productive and widely-used telescope in the world, is an extremely sensitive radio telescope that collects radio waves naturally emitted by celestial bodies. These radio signals are recorded and then processed by astronomers to produce a radio image of those bodies as 'seen' by the telescope.

Accelerated Technology's Nucleus PLUS kernel and Nucleus NET TCP/IP protocol stack will be implemented in the first phase of the VLA Expansion Project. The Project will use modern electronics and computer technology to increase the capability of the VLA tenfold in all scientific aspects.

Among other tasks, Phase I includes a complete redesign and re-implementation of the Monitor and Control System for the Expanded VLA (EVLA). The Monitor and Control System is the hardware, software and computing platforms that will be used to monitor the health and performance of the EVLA, and to control it.

One central component of the Monitor and Control System is an in-house, custom designed board referred to as a Module Interface Board (MIB). The MIB is the "gateway" for monitoring and controlling the antennas. The antenna MIB will collect and monitor data from electronic subsystems in the antenna to forward to other computers in the Control Building. The MIB will also serve as the reception point for commands to the subsystems in the antennas. Accelerated Technology's Nucleus PLUS will be used as the real-time kernel for the antenna MIBs and Nucleus NET will be the basis for communication with the MIBs. NRAO expects to use between 30 and 50 MIBs in each of the antennas.

The Nucleus RTOS was chosen for several reasons by embedded developers at the Observatory. They needed a small footprint RTOS with rich functionality that was easy to port to a new architecture.

Secondly, the Nucleus product line offered many add-on products available from one vendor. In particular, the developers required a networking stack, an Ethernet driver, a shell task, an HTTP server and Java software. One vendor who could fill all of these requirements is better, as multi-vendor solutions can be much more problematic.

Accelerated Technology has a notable reputation for excellence in engineering and support. After three months of extensive research, NRAO decided to use the Nucleus RTOS and add on products in the first phase of the VLA Expansion Project.

"Since the VLA provides invaluable information to scientists all over the world, this expansion project will increase the VLA's capabilities by tenfold. It is exciting to see our software play such a crucial role in the expansion of scientific research in the area of astronomy," said Robert Day, director of marketing for Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division. "The Nucleus RTOS, with its small size, complete functionality and ease of portability is the ideal foundation for the first phase of this project. Additional networking and Internet capabilities will allow for meeting stringent requirements required by the constant change of demands for this technology in the future."

The VLA consists of 27 dish antennas arranged in the shape of a "Y." The electronic signals collected by the individual antennas are combined to produce a comprehensive image. An extremely versatile scientific tool, the VLA has been used by thousands of scientists to study every type of object known in the universe.

About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of about $600 million and employs approximately 3,500 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777; Silicon Valley headquarters are located at 1001 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, California 95131-2314. World Wide Web site: www.mentor.com.

Accelerated Technology, the Embedded Systems Division of Mentor Graphics Corporation (AT), is located in Mobile, Alabama with sales offices and distributors worldwide. By providing embedded systems developers with a focus on service, well-documented source code and industry-leading non-royalty-based Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) software, AT's RTOS software shortens time-to-market and provides a complete solution for engineers. For more information, please visit www.acceleratedtechnology.com or email us at info@acceleratedtechnology.com.

Mentor Graphics and Accelerated Technology are registered trademarks and Nucleus is a trademark of Mentor Graphics Corporation.

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