Nasa Tech Briefs

Grid-X Cloud and Smartphone Accelerator

James Awrach
SeaFire Micros, Beverly, MA

Supercomputers are linked worldwide, creating ultra-highperformance cloud, utility, and grid computers. The Bandwidth-Delay Product (BWDP), where “delay” is the roundtrip time for data transfer, defines required buffer memory. Grid-X addresses BWDP, and enables faster local and globally distributed supercomputing at lower power and cost. SeaFire also created a variant called Grid-X Mobile for smartphones.

altGrid-X was developed to advance data transfer in high-performance computing (HPC) systems. Grid-X interfaces were developed for the data transfer package GridFTP and interface architecture to iRODS as part of the effort to reduce BWDP. Both GridFTP and iRODS are used for HPC data transfer by facilities at NASA, National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored laboratories, national laboratories, and other federal entities.

Grid-X is network acceleration technology that reduces memory requirements, reduces BWDP, and decreases power consumption per channel in multiples of 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps full-duplex (f-d). Grid-X increases CPU core resource availability. This innovation was created through novel firmware, hardware, and protocol design using COTS materials and transport with UDP or TCP. Grid-X development was funded in part by Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from NASA and NSF, and through seed investments.

altGrid-X is being marketed for applications in cloud computing network acceleration, enterprise network equipment, and prospective network IP sub-licensees. Additional applications for Grid-X include accelerated management of defense systems, and fast transfer of large volumes of hospital patient data. Additional customers include manufacturers of HPC systems or integrators. Grid-X Mobile would significantly increase speed of streaming video to be enjoyed by smartphone users.

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Honorable Mentions

Isolating DIAC-Based Power Supply

Saves Standby Energy
Hans Diesing, Schoengeising, Bavaria, Germany

This invention is a simple, inexpensive, compact, isolated, ultra-low-power supply circuit with a standby consumption in the range of one milliwatt. Apart from powering intelligent sensors, this circuit could provide minimal-loss, low standby power for monitoring and wake-up of bigger consumer electronics AC power supplies and charger adaptors as a load demand watchdog circuit.The novel circuit is based on a DIAC (a standard component in AC dimmers), a small pulse transformer commonly used for dataline isolation, and three small capacitors: one AC-current-limiting high-voltage input capacitor, and one high-voltage charging capacitor on the primary side, as well as one output buffering capacitor at the secondary side of the miniature pulse transformer behind a diode bridge rectifier. For more information, visit

NanoCam — Microscopic

Sized Camera
James Scott, Saint Augustine, FL

altThe NanoCam is a tiny camera comprised of a single photo sensor, piezo actuator, and refractive component. A working macro prototype was built with a simple LED as the light sensor, a quadrant piezo disc actuator, and fiber-optic strand to sample the light. The oscillating disc deflects the fiber strand so that optical information is “scanned” to the LED. Because the deflection is controlled by frequency, the camera can have numerous resolutions. The circuitry is a simple ADO and oscillator, sent to a serial or USB input of a computer. The software reads the bitstream and constructs an image from the signal. Because the circuit and components are so simple and inexpensive, this can be scaled down using lithography and other technologies, making this ideal for medical use, microstereoscopic arrays, micro/nano machine vision, and disposable or consumable purposes.

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