High-performance embedded computing (HPEC) builds momentum as GE establishes HPEC center of excellence

BILLERICA, Mass., 14 May 2012. GE Intelligent Platforms in Huntsville, Ala., is establishing a High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) Center of Excellence (CoE) at the company's advanced software development center in Billerica, Mass. The company's HPEC CoE will focus powerful, flexible intelligent systems for military and aerospace embedded computing, company officials say.

Although the HPEC CoE, which opened in April, will be operated by and for embedded computing designers at GE Intelligent Platforms, the center also will gain significant benefit from GE's corporate research and development activities.

The GE HPEC CoE joins other recently established high-performance embedded computing center of excellence. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, for example, opened its Continuum High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) Center of Excellence (CoE) in October 2010 to focus on large-node digital signal processing (DSP) for military embedded systems.

The Curtiss-Wright HPEC CoE, located at the company's headquarters in Ashburn, Va., concentrates on DSP clusters including heterogenous combinations of field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and central processing unit (CPU) elements, A/D and D/A conversion, I/O, interconnects, fabrics, middleware and libraries.

GE's new HPEC center of excellence will help company experts enhance their existing range of HPEC solutions designed harsh demanding environments such as military deployments, company officials say. GE offers HPEC board-level solutions, -subsystems, and software development that takes advantage of GE's AXIS Advanced Multiprocessor Integrated Software.

The goal of GE's HPEC CoE is to help develop high-technology-readiness-level (TRL) commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) embedded computing, as well as custom systems. The center also offers consulting services, and will create application-focused algorithms.

"Establishing this new Center of Excellence allows us to create a single point of contact for our customers," says Jay Swenson, director of military and aerospace marketing and business at GE Intelligent Platforms.

The definition of high-performance embedded computing, or HPEC, is somewhat open to debate. Some experts contend that HPEC primarily involves software for large clusters of embedded processors. Others say HPEC simply refers to higher-performance embedded computers than typically are found on the open market.

High-performance computing (HPC) typically refers to parallel processing techniques for running complex application programs. The term applies especially to systems that function at speeds in excess of 1 trillion floating point operations per second (teraflop). Although some of the most common HPC users are scientific researchers, the military also relies on HPC for complex applications.

An embedded system, meanwhile, is a computer that controls functions within a larger system, with microcontrollers or digital signal processors (DSP) embedded as part of a complete device. In aerospace and defense applications, high-performance embedded computers, which increasingly are labeled intelligent systems, often handle complex sensor processing in applications like radar, sonar, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence.

GE Intelligent Platforms provides Intel- and PowerPC-based single board computers and multiprocessor boards, as well as rugged COTS NVIDIA CUDA general purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) products for defense applications.

For more information contact GE Intelligent Platforms online at www.ge-ip.com.

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