White Paper: How GPGPU Performance and Programmability can power Video Mixer Display Applications in the defense and aerospace markets

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    GPGPU-Performance-Programmability-Video-Mixer-Display-Applications.gifMission display computers play an important role in an increasing number of imaging applications such as digital moving maps, 360° situational awareness, persistent surveillance, embedded training, and degraded visual environments. These systems are designed with advanced graphics capability to drive multiple displays independently with video from multiple sources. The display video can be a combination of input from multiple sensors, generated digital map video, symbology, and metadata information from a variety of other sources. All of this information is combined and overlaid to provide multiple operators each an instantaneous independent view of the battlefield.


    Requirements of a mission display application are a large number of ports to handle the number of video sources, high performance and bandwidth to handle the increasing resolution of sensors and displays, low latency for immediate feedback, and flexibility to handle the variety of sensor and display interface formats. The video mixer is the heart of the mission display computer and generally required an FPGA to combine the multiple inputs into multiple display outputs. The issue with this approach was the difficulties inherent to FPGA programmability. FPGA-based video mixers were generally uniquely tailored to each platform, lacked floating-point arithmetic precision, were difficult to modify to deal with changes in video interfaces or processing requirements, and required lengthy development schedules.


    Advances in embedded graphics technology make a product such as the commercial GPGPUs, with its higher performance and bandwidth, a feasible and attractive alternative to replace the FPGA as the video mixer for some mission display applications. This is further augmented by the video processing and generation capabilities of Intel’s built-in integrated graphics in their multi-core CPUs.


    This white paper discusses how the combination of high performance standalone and integrated GPGPUs combine with FPGA interface flexibility to provide increased programmability and versatility to the video capabilities required of a mission display computer. The white paper includes a Curtiss-Wright embedded system featuring Intel Xeon SBCs, NVIDIA GPGPU processors and FPGAs to optimize performance.


    Download this white paper to learn more about:

    • Mission Display Computer
    • Video Mixer
    • Sensor Input Processing
    • Graphical Processing Units (GPUs)
    • General Purpose GPUs (GPGPUs)
    • Intel Integrated GPUs