GPU Receiver

Reference#: P03594

A general-purpose processor such as a CPU (central processing unit) typically performs all-purpose functions in modern computers. But a separate modem is needed to handle the communication between the user equipment, such as a smartphone, and the base station or Internet service provider. In addition, a graphics processing unit (GPU) is required to enable graphics features, such as those required for playing games or watching movies. But many of these components are not used all the time, and some—such as the modem—can drain battery life and power at an exorbitant rate.

A researcher at APL has developed a method of using a multi- or many-core coprocessor such as a GPU to improve the throughput of radio/modem/transceiver systems at the physical layer. The development is based on the discovery that a general-purpose GPU—a GPGPU—can be used to perform communications and signal processing (CSP) functions at a much higher throughput or data rate.

GPUs contain many parallel processors that are ideal for many CSP functions, but beyond enabling graphics-intensive games and streaming videos, they are highly underutilized. APL scientists had an idea to use a GPGPU to accelerate modem functionalities by potentially providing battery-saving options while achieving high performance. This use can be applied to navigation chips and low-power communication devices, such as GPS and Bluetooth, and it can also be leveraged in base station or telecommunications equipment because it can receive multiple channels at the same time to transmit and receive.

Because of their flexible software structure, GPGPUs can be deployed across the world to meet different countries’ specifications—such as center frequencies and band numbers. The method is inexpensive, requiring only a commercial off-the-shelf chip, and is fully programmed via software only.

Dr. G. R. Jacobovitz
Phone: (443) 778-9899