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Converged Sensor Network Architecture To Be Showcased at NCW 2009


Mercury Computer Systems, a provider of embedded, high-performance computing systems and software for image, sensor, and signal processing applications, announced it will showcase its Converged Sensor Network (CSN) Architecture at NCW 2009, the world's largest event focused on net-centric operations and best practices for network-centric innovation. NCW 2009 will take place in Washington, DC, January 27-30.

As sensor processing in defense and commercial applications evolves to the next phase, communications and broad information sharing become ever more critical. "We need to find better ways to use the defense communications systems we have today, some of which are nontraditional intelligent systems, and network them so that we can zoom in on an area of interest by virtue of a dynamic tasking mechanism - to where an F-15 radar can be sent into a SAR mode for a few seconds, or an ESA radar that's flying on some other airplane can be spotlighted into that area for a few more seconds, without interrupting its ongoing mission," said General Gregory S. Martin, Commander, U.S. Air Force (Ret.). "All of that information would then be used to build a collage of digits that can then cue actions to be taken, even without seeing a visual picture -- that is the ultimate intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) objective."

The Mercury CSN Architecture is a single, unified architecture that combines sensor signal processing with information management technologies, to enable the convergence of multiple sensors, missions, and users -- to deliver transformational access to information in the tactical edge, or battlefield. Built from the computer architecture out, the CSN Architecture is designed to maintain deterministic sensor processing while supporting dynamic reconfiguration and resource sharing for networked collection tasking and exploitation; present both sensor data and processing capabilities as network-based services to support shared access and dynamic allocation; and enable the consolidation of multisensor-related functions into a single converged architecture.

The CSN Architecture caters to applications in which bandwidth-limited communications platforms collect insufficient information in isolation to enable real-time decision making. Mercury system architects and engineers were considering ways to address these challenges, when a customer engaged Mercury's team to solve its dilemma of determining a practical way to network together sensors, computing, and storage for a specific defense program. Rather than build a one-off solution, the Mercury team defined a broadly applicable architecture -- the CSN Architecture -- and used it as the basis for the customer's solution.

At NCW 2009, Mercury will present components of the CSN Architecture, including the SR-110 VXS 10GE Gateway module, a network-centric building block that seamlessly moves data between interconnect fabrics; and the Sensor Stream Computing Platform, a scalable, multi-GPU-based development platform that enables users to address the issues of time, bandwidth, and resources targeted at deployable, rugged applications in the ISR space. Mercury will also exhibit the PowerBlock 50, a new class of rugged, high-performance embedded computing that measures approximately 4" x 5" x 6", weighs less than 7 pounds, and puts up to 172 GFLOPS of processing power next to the sensor in space-constrained platforms such as unmanned vehicles.


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