High-speed, low-power, reconfigurable electronic hardware has been developed to implement ICER-3D, an algorithm for compressing hyperspectral-image data. The algorithm and parts thereof have been the topics of several NASA Tech Briefs articles, including “Context Modeler for Wavelet Compression of Hyperspectral Images” (NPO-43239) and “ICER-3D Hyperspectral Image Compression Software” (NPO-43238), which appear elsewhere in this issue of NASA Tech Briefs. As described in more detail in those articles, the algorithm includes three main subalgorithms: one for computing wavelet transforms, one for context modeling, and one for entropy encoding. For the purpose of designing the hardware, these subalgorithms are treated as modules to be implemented efficiently in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

The design takes advantage of industry-standard, commercially available FPGAs. The implementation targets the Xilinx Virtex II pro architecture, which has embedded PowerPC processor cores with flexible on-chip bus architecture. It incorporates an efficient parallel and pipelined architecture to compress the three-dimensional image data. The design provides for internal buffering to minimize intensive input/output operations while making efficient use of offchip memory. The design is scalable in that the subalgorithms are implemented as independent hardware modules that can be combined in parallel to increase throughput. The on-chip processor manages the overall operation of the compression system, including execution of the top-level control functions as well as scheduling, initiating, and monitoring processes.

The design prototype has been demonstrated to be capable of compressing hyperspectral data at a rate of 4.5 megasamples per second at a conservative clock frequency of 50 MHz, with a potential for substantially greater throughput at a higher clock frequency. The power consumption of the prototype is less than 6.5 W.

The reconfigurability (by means of reprogramming) of the FPGAs makes it possible to effectively alter the design to some extent to satisfy different requirements without adding hardware. The implementation could be easily propagated to future FPGA generations and/or to custom application-specific integrated circuits.

This work was done by Nazeeh Aranki, Jeffrey Namkung, Carlos Villalpando, Aaron Kiely, Matthew Klimesh, and Hua Xie of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Electronics/Computers category. NPO-42834

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Reconfigurable Hardware for Compressing Hyperspectral Image Data

(reference NPO-42834) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the February, 2010 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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