20 May 2011 Power versus performance tradeoffs of GPU-accelerated backprojection-based synthetic aperture radar image formation
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The continuing miniaturization and parallelization of computer hardware has facilitated the development of mobile and field-deployable systems that can accommodate terascale processing within once prohibitively small size and weight constraints. General-purpose Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) are prominent examples of such terascale devices. Unfortunately, the added computational capability of these devices often comes at the cost of larger demands on power, an already strained resource in these systems. This study explores power versus performance issues for a workload that can take advantage of GPU capability and is targeted to run in field-deployable environments, i.e., Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Specifically, we focus on the Image Formation (IF) computational phase of SAR, often the most compute intensive, and evaluate two different state-of-the-art GPU implementations of this IF method. Using real and simulated data sets, we evaluate performance tradeoffs for single- and double-precision versions of these implementations in terms of time-to-solution, image output quality, and total energy consumption. We employ fine-grain direct-measurement techniques to capture isolated power utilization and energy consumption of the GPU device, and use general and radarspecific metrics to evaluate image output quality. We show that double-precision IF can provide slight image improvement to low-reflective areas of SAR images, but note that the added quality may not be worth the higher power and energy costs associated with higher precision operations.
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Ricardo Portillo, Ricardo Portillo, Sarala Arunagiri, Sarala Arunagiri, Patricia J. Teller, Patricia J. Teller, Song J. Park, Song J. Park, Lam H. Nguyen, Lam H. Nguyen, Joseph C. Deroba, Joseph C. Deroba, Dale Shires, Dale Shires, } "Power versus performance tradeoffs of GPU-accelerated backprojection-based synthetic aperture radar image formation", Proc. SPIE 8060, Modeling and Simulation for Defense Systems and Applications VI, 806008 (20 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.885120; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.885120

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