In modern medical ultrasound signal processing, beamforming is usually implemented on H/W solution by ASIC(Application Specific Integrated Circuit) because of its huge computation. ASIC solution has a problem with flexibility to support various beamforming algorithms. Nowadays, computing ability of GPU(Graphic processing unit) becomes very high, therefore many approaches have been proposed for S/W beamforming on GPU. Although the high performance of GPU, commercial GPU is not proper for portable ultrasound, because of its large power consumption.
The motivation of this paper is evaluating the feasibility of embedded multi-core system as S/W beamforming solution
for portable ultrasound. To develop embedded S/W beamforming platform, we propose the platform with multiple
embedded processors called RP(Reconfigurable Processor) and special co-processors. Whole system is composed of 6
computing clusters and single cluster is composed of 8 RP processors and 1 co-processor. The number of clusters in the system can be changed depending on computational requirement. To evaluate the performance of the proposed platform, we implemented MV(Minimum Variance) beamforming, which is one of the most complex beamforming, on that platform. 4 approaches were mainly used to accelerate MV beamforming. The first one is co-processor for accelerating MAC(Multiply and Accumulate) operations, the second one is special instructions for beamforming, the third one is SIMD(Single Instruction Multiple Data), and the last one is CGA(Corse Grained Architecture) acceleration which is special function of RP. As a final result, 128channel 30fps(frame per second) real-time MV beamformer was achieved on the proposed platform.