Synthetic Aperture Radar Data Processing on an FPGA Multi-Core System

Pascal Schleuniger, Anders Kusk, Jørgen Dall, Sven Karlsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Synthetic aperture radar, SAR, is a high resolution imaging radar. The direct back-projection algorithm allows for a precise SAR output image reconstruction and can compensate for deviations in the flight track of airborne radars. Often graphic processing units, GPUs are used for data processing as the back-projection algorithm is computationally expensive and highly parallel. However, GPUs may not be an appropriate solution for applications with strictly constrained space and power requirements. In this paper, we describe how we map a SAR direct back-projection application to a multi-core system on an FPGA. The fabric consisting of 64 processor cores and 2D mesh interconnect utilizes 60% of the hardware resources of a Xilinx Virtex-7 device with 550 thousand logic cells and consumes about 10 watt. We apply software pipelining to hide memory latency and reduce the hardware footprint by 14%. We show that the system provides real-time processing of a SAR application that maps a 3000m wide area with a resolution of 2x2 meters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchitecture of Computing Systems – ARCS 2013 : 26th International Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, February 19-22, 2013. Proceedings
Publication date2013
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-36423-5
ISBN (Electronic)78-3-642-36424-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event26th International Conference on Architecture of Computing Systems (ARCS 2013) - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 19 Feb 201322 Feb 2013


Conference26th International Conference on Architecture of Computing Systems (ARCS 2013)
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


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