Visual-programming environments aid DSP software developmentisual-programming environments aid DSP

Visual-programming environments aid DSP software developmentisual-programming environments aid DSP software development

Visual-programming environments aid DSP software developmentisual-programming environments aid DSP software development

Just as visual-programming environments are helping image-processing developers (see Vision Systems Design, May 1998, p. 58), they are also aiding multiprocessing systems designers. Pioneered by such companies as Orincon Technologies (San Diego, CA), visual-programming languages are becoming available from third-party vendors such as Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (Camden, NJ) and vendors of multiprocessing hardware such as Mercury Computer Systems (Chelmsford, MA).

As a graphical programming and automated code-generation tool for multiprocessors, the graphical-entry distributed-application environment (GEDAE) from Lockheed enables developers to capture signal-processing applications in hardware-independent graphical representation. It partitions and maps these applications to specific target architectures and interactively optimizes the overall implementation."GEDAE currently runs on VME Sharc boards from Lockheed`s licensed vendors Alex Computer Systems (Ithaca, NY) and Ixthos (Leesburg, VA), as well as Mercury Computer Systems VME Sharc, PowerPC, and i860 boards," says Paul Houlihan, GEDAE sales manager.

According to Mercury Computer Systems, Lockheed chose the Mercury architecture because it is widely used in applications Lockheed is targeting. Mercury also offers its own software, PeakWare for RACE, which was developed in conjunction with MATRA (France) as a visual-programming environment for parallel processing on Mercury`s RACE architecture.

Meanwhile, according to Houlihan, Lockheed is busy porting GEDAE to PowerPC and Sharc boards from CSPI (Billerica, MA), a C40 board from Mizar (Carrollton, TX), and a Sharc board from Transtech Parallel Systems (Ithaca, NY). Lockheed is also discussing porting the software to DSP boards from Loughborough Sound Images (Loughborough, Leicester, England) and Spectrum Signal Processing (Burnaby, BC, Canada).

Substantial productivity improvements have been accomplished using the GEDAE software, according to Lockheed. In one demonstration, the company re-implemented hand-crafted software for a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) application running on a Mercury RaceWay architecture using GEDAE. Lockheed claims the resulting autocoded application achieved the same execution and memory efficiency as the hand-coded version with approximately a ten-times reduction in implementation time.

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