27 July 2016 Bridging FPGA and GPU technologies for AO real-time control
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Abstract
Our team has developed a common environment for high performance simulations and real-time control of AO systems based on the use of Graphics Processors Units in the context of the COMPASS project. Such a solution, based on the ability of the real time core in the simulation to provide adequate computing performance, limits the cost of developing AO RTC systems and makes them more scalable. A code developed and validated in the context of the simulation may be injected directly into the system and tested on sky. Furthermore, the use of relatively low cost components also offers significant advantages for the system hardware platform. However, the use of GPUs in an AO loop comes with drawbacks: the traditional way of offloading computation from CPU to GPUs - involving multiple copies and unacceptable overhead in kernel launching - is not well suited in a real time context. This last application requires the implementation of a solution enabling direct memory access (DMA) to the GPU memory from a third party device, bypassing the operating system. This allows this device to communicate directly with the real-time core of the simulation feeding it with the WFS camera pixel stream. We show that DMA between a custom FPGA-based frame-grabber and a computation unit (GPU, FPGA, or Coprocessor such as Xeon-phi) across PCIe allows us to get latencies compatible with what will be needed on ELTs. As a fine-grained synchronization mechanism is not yet made available by GPU vendors, we propose the use of memory polling to avoid interrupts handling and involvement of a CPU. Network and Vision protocols are handled by the FPGA-based Network Interface Card (NIC). We present the results we obtained on a complete AO loop using camera and deformable mirror simulators.
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Denis Perret, Maxime Lainé, Julien Bernard, Damien Gratadour, Arnaud Sevin, "Bridging FPGA and GPU technologies for AO real-time control", Proc. SPIE 9909, Adaptive Optics Systems V, 99094M (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232858; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232858
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