Mercury Offers Modules for Integrating FPGA into RACE++ VME Systems

2/3/2004 - Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY), announced its RACE++® Series MCJ6 FCN module that integrates field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) into RACE++ VME multicomputers. Used in conjunction with Mercury’s FPGA Developers’ Kit (FDK) toolset, customers can easily code portions of applications that employ simple, compute-intensive and highly repetitive operations to run on the MCJ6 FCN module’s FPGAs, increasing performance and saving customers space, weight, power, and money. More complex portions of applications can be run on PowerPCTM processors on other boards in a heterogeneous RACE++ system.

"Certain types of computational operations run 10 to 20 times faster on an FPGA than on a RISC microprocessor, but interfacing FPGAs into the rest of the system can introduce performance bottlenecks and greatly lengthen the development schedule," said Richard Jaenicke, director of product management, Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. "Mercury’s innovative solutions for developing FPGA applications, contained in our FPGA Developers’ Kit, provides the most convenient and productive way to achieve FPGAs’ potential by fully integrating them into the RACE++ switch fabric, providing all the IP infrastructure for switch fabric, memory controller, and I/O interfaces. This enables developers to utilize MCJ6 FCNs for greater application performance while reducing development time and risk."

The MCJ6 FCN module consists of a 6U VME board with two Virtex II Pro P70 FPGAs connected to a RACE++ switch fabric via an on-board crossbar. The module includes a rich set of I/O interfaces including 8 serial copper interfaces, 12 serial fiber optic interfaces, and 52 pairs of LVDS I/O. With more than 5 gigabytes/sec of I/O, the MCJ6 FCN brings the accelerated front-end processing of the FPGAs closer to the system input. Using Mercury’s RACE++ Interlink modules, MCJ6 FCN modules can also be configured with other 6U VME modules supporting PowerPC processors or controlling a wide array of I/O devices. This heterogeneous computing architecture delivers the flexibility to match the algorithm to the best available resource, proving the optimum combination of productivity and performance for each task.

MCJ6 FCN systems are targeted at several applications. In defense electronics, MCJ6 FCN modules will initially be employed near the front end of radar applications, with similar uses planned in signals intelligence 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. Mercury recently proved the value of FPGA computing in software-defined radio (SDR) in a joint demonstration with Xilinx at the Military Communications Conference (MILCOM 2003). Mercury’s pool-of-processors approach and Virtex II FPGAs enabled the rapid deployment and reconfiguration of high-performance SDR systems using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.

Integrating the MCJ6 FCN into a complete application system is simpler and faster with the FDK suite of development tools and services for FPGA applications. The FDK provides an integrated development environment for applications that will be partitioned between FPGAs and PowerPC processors, and off-the-shelf, ready-to-use components for managing input and output data flows and memory transfers in FPGA applications.

The RACE++ Series MCJ6 FCN is expected to be available in Q3 of CY2004. A high-resolution photograph can be downloaded from Mercury’s Image Library.

Additional detailed information about the MCJ6 FCN module is available on Mercury’s website.

About Mercury Computer Systems, Inc.
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) is the leading supplier 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’s systems are also used in state-of-the-art medical diagnostic imaging devices including MRI, 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. For more news about Mercury Computer Systems visit the news section of

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