Invited Paper for the 1998 Asilomar Conference on Signals, Signals, and Computers

Real-Time Sonar Beamforming on a Unix workstation Using Process Networks and POSIX Threads

Gregory E. Allen (1), Brian L. Evans (2), and David C. Schanbach (2)

(1) Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin, P.O. Box 8029, Austin, TX 78713-8029 USA

(2) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Engineering Science Building, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1084 USA

Software Release

Process Networks Research at Austin


Traditionally, expensive custom hardware has been required to implement data-intensive sonar beamforming algorithms in real-time. We develop a sonar beamformer in software by merging the following recent technologies: (1) symmetric multiprocessing on Unix workstations, (2) lightweight POSIX threads, and (3) the Process Network model of computation. We find that it is feasible for a 4-GFLOP digital interpolation process network beamformer to run in real-time on a Sun workstation with 16 UltraSPARC-II processors running at 336 MHz. The workstation beamformer significantly reduces cost and development time over an equivalent hardware beamformer.

The full paper is available in PDF and GNU-Compressed Postscript formats.

Slides for the lecture presentation

Greg Allen's Beamforming Web Page.

Last Updated 05/21/14.