Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Robust data processing in extreme conditions

An innovative data processing unit with high performance even under conditions of radioactivity, vacuum and thermal instability has been developed for space flights and other harsh environments.
Robust data processing in extreme conditions
One of the key architectural features of modern high-performance computers is the use of cache memories embedded into the microprocessor component. Yet, typical transient errors caused in radiation environments can affect memory components and potentially result in computer jamming.

The newly developed data processing unit utilises fast digital circuits and multilevel data architecture for high data processing power. Adoption of contemporary microprocessor technology offers high performance of more than 100Mips. For their better control, modern approach adopts detailed radiation testing of the selected components and realisation of specialised computer operation monitoring functions.

As such Error Detection And Correction (EDAC) or block code technology is implemented for memory error correction. Additionally, memory and system control functions in highly reliable, programmable digital circuits allow necessary modifications in the design of the functionality and interfaces.

The hardware was also carefully designed as far as power supply and thermal management are concerned. Adaptation to standard power interfaces was realised using a local reliable, low-voltage high-power converter. Avoiding the use of mechanical cooling devices such as fans, thermal control is attained through thermal design and analysis.

The Finnish technology features increased reliability, autonomy in recovery from transient failure conditions, fast processing times and greatly reduced requirements on equipment repair and maintenance. Through careful memory and interface control as well as component selection high performance data processing is offered.

Due to hardware thermal control, the data processing system can operate under very harsh conditions even under very high temperatures. Potential application areas include space flights and radioactive environments in nuclear power plants or nuclear research facilities. Industrial partners engaged in space and nuclear system integration and development are sought for technical co-operation for identification of new application areas and further development of the system.
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