Tech Briefs

Modified Polar-Format Software for Processing SAR Data

HMPF is a computer program that implements a modified polar-format algorithm for processing data from spaceborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) systems. Unlike prior polar-format processing algorithms, this algorithm is based on the assumption that the radar signal wavefronts are spherical rather than planar. The algorithm provides for resampling of SAR pulse data from slant range to radial distance from the center of a reference sphere that is nominally the local Earth surface. Then, invoking the projection-slice theorem, the resampled pulse data are Fourier-transformed over radial distance, arranged in the wavenumber domain according to the acquisition geometry, resampled to a Cartesian grid, and inverse-Fourier-transformed. The result of this process is the focused SAR image. HMPF, and perhaps other programs that implement variants of the algorithm, may give better accuracy than do prior algorithms for processing strip-map SAR data from high altitudes and may give better phase preservation relative to prior polar-format algorithms for processing spotlight-mode SAR data.

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Eigensolver for a Sparse, Large Hermitian Matrix

A parallel-processing computer program finds a few eigenvalues in a sparse Hermitian matrix that contains as many as 100 million diagonal elements. This program finds the eigenvalues faster, using less memory, than do other, comparable eigensolver programs. This program implements a Lanczos algorithm in the American National Standards Institute/ International Organization for Standardization (ANSI/ISO) C computing language, using the Message Passing Interface (MPI) standard to complement an eigensolver in PARPACK. [PARPACK (Parallel Arnoldi Package) is an extension, to parallel-processing computer architectures, of ARPACK (Arnoldi Package), which is a collection of Fortran 77 subroutines that solve large-scale eigenvalue problems.] The eigensolver runs on Beowulf clusters of computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The package is open-source software and is distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) on the Internet through the Open Channel Foundation at http://www.openchannelsoftware.com/.

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Organizing Diverse, Distributed Project Information

SemanticOrganizer is a software application designed to organize and integrate infor- mation generated within a distributed organ- ization or as part of a project that involves multiple, geographically dispersed collaborators. Semantic- Organizer incorporates the capa- bilities of database storage, document sharing, hypermedia navigation, and semantic-interlinking into a system that can be customized to satisfy the specific information-management needs of different user communities. The program provides a centralized repository of information that is both secure and accessible to project collaborators via the World Wide Web. SemanticOrganizer’s repository can be used to collect diverse information (including forms, documents, notes, data, spreadsheets, images, and sounds) from computers at collaborators’ work sites. The program organizes the information using a unique network- structured conceptual framework, wherein each node represents a data record that contains not only the original information but also metadata (in effect, standardized data that characterize the information). Links among nodes express semantic relationships among the data records. The program features a Web interface through which users enter, interlink, and/or search for information in the repository. By use of this repository, the collaborators have immediate access to the most recent project information, as well as to archived information. A key advantage to SemanticOrganizer is its ability to interlink information together in a natural fashion using customized terminology and concepts that are familiar to a user community.

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Software for Acquiring Image Data for PIV

PIV Acquisition (PIVACQ) is a computer program for acquisition of data for particle- image velocimetry (PIV). In the PIV system for which PIVACQ was developed, small particles entrained in a flow are illuminated with a sheet of light from a pulsed laser. The illuminated region is monitored by a charge-coupleddevice camera that operates in conjunction with a data-acquisition system that includes a frame grabber and a countertimer board, both installed in a single computer. The camera operates in “framestraddle” mode where a pair of images can be obtained closely spaced in time (on the order of microseconds). The frame grabber acquires image data from the camera and stores the data in the computer memory. The counter/timer board triggers the camera and synchronizes the pulsing of the laser with acquisition of data from the camera. PIVPROC coordinates all of these functions and provides a graphical user interface, through which the user can control the PIV data-acquisition system. PIVACQ enables the user to acquire a sequence of single-exposure images, display the images, process the images, and then save the images to the computer hard drive. PIVACQ works in conjunction with the PIVPROC program — described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles — which processes the images of particles into the velocity field in the illuminated plane.

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Detecting Edges in Images by Use of Fuzzy Reasoning

Human visual processing is partly imitated in order to harness some of its power. A method of processing digital image data to detect edges includes the use of fuzzy reasoning. The method is completely adaptive and does not require any advance knowledge of an image.

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Program for User-Friendly Management of Input and Output Data Sets

A computer program manages large, hierarchical sets of input and output (I/O) parameters (typically, sequences of alpha- numeric data) involved in computational simulations in a variety of technological disciplines. This program represents sets of parameters as structures coded in object-oriented but otherwise standard American National Standards Institute C language. Each structure contains a group of I/O parameters that “make sense” as a unit in the simulation program with which this program is used. The addition of options and/or elements to sets of parameters amounts to the addition of new elements to data structures. By association of child data generated in response to a particular user input, a hierarchical ordering of input parameters can be achieved. Associated with child data structures are the creation and description mechanisms within the parent data structures. Child data structures can spawn further child data structures. In this program, the creation and representation of a sequence of data structures is effected by one line of code that looks for children of a sequence of structures until there are no more children to be found. A linked list of structures is created dynamically and is completely represented in the data structures themselves. Such hierarchical data presentation can guide users through otherwise complex setup procedures and it can be integrated within a variety of graphical representations.

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Numerical Modeling of Nanoelectronic Devices

Nanoelectronic Modeling 3-D (NEMO 3-D) is a computer program for numerical modeling of the electronic structure properties of a semiconductor device that is embodied in a crystal containing as many as 16 million atoms in an arbitrary configuration and that has overall dimensions of the order of tens of nanometers. The underlying mathematical model represents the quantum-mechanical behavior of the device resolved to the atomistic level of granularity. The system of electrons in the device is represented by a sparse Hamiltonian matrix that contains hundreds of millions of terms. NEMO 3-D solves the matrix equation on a Beowulf-class cluster computer, by use of a parallel-processing matrix×vector multiplication algorithm coupled to a Lanczos and/or Rayleigh-Ritz algorithm that solves for eigenvalues. In a recent update of NEMO 3-D, a new strain treatment, parameterized for bulk material properties of GaAs and InAs, was developed for two tight-binding submodels. The utility of the NEMO 3-D was demonstrated in an atomistic analysis of the effects of disorder in alloys and, in particular, in bulk InxGal–xAs and in In0.6Ga0.4As quantum dots.

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