The Center for Fast Ultrasound Imaging (CFU) at the Technical University of Denmark and IT consultancy company Prevas are developing a super-computer for what is reportedly the world's fastest ultrasound scanner intended for rapid diagnosis of cardiac disease, writes professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer). When the equipment has been completed, it will be able to show real-time 3D images of the heart with blood flowing through veins and arteries, as well as possible blood clots.
Professor Jørgen Arendt Jensen, head of CFU says: "It will collect and process data from 1,000 ultrasound sensors at the same time, corresponding to a bandwidth of 7,000 TV stations. The data rate is 140 gigabytes per second, which needs to be processed at the same speed. This is the only system in the world that can handle the load."
The computer has a modular architecture of 320 FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays), each with two imbedded power PCs. The operating system will be Linux with 1,000 gigabytes of memory, and a calculating power corresponding to 5,000 modern PCs.
Prevas has the exclusive rights to develop and sell the computer for other purposes. Possible areas of application include radar systems, advanced vision and image recognition, as well as encryption and decoding tasks.
The first version of the system is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008. "Normally it takes about seven years to develop an ultrasound scanner. This one has been on the way for three years, but we probably also need some time to get it all to work optimally. It is a research machine after all," says Jørgen Arendt Jensen.