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Mentored Engineering Research

Reliable FPGA Computing

Motherboard Connected To Computer

Dr. Mike Wirthlin

The growing use of satellites for complex communication, remote sensing, and surveillance applications require significant computing resources. Modern satellite systems require far more computing power than ever before and there is a great need to provide high-performance computing systems in space that are small, light-weight, reliable, and consume limited energy. Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) provide significant computing resources at the fraction of the power needed by conventional processor technologies. FPGAs, however, are sensitive to the ionizing radiation found in space environments and will not operate reliably unless appropriate radiation mitigation techniques are employed. This project is developing techniques for providing high-reliability, high-performance computing for space systems using FPGAs and other programmable technologies. This project is investigating novel reliability techniques, design tools, computer architecture approaches, and software for providing the most reliable deployment of FPGA-based systems. The results from this work are directly applicable to high-reliability computing in conventional environments on earth as well as within high-energy physics experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).