A Spaceborne Processor Array in Multifunctional Structure (SPAMS) can lower the total mass of the electronic and structural overhead of spacecraft, resulting in reduced launch costs, while increasing the science return through dynamic onboard computing. SPAMS integrates the multifunctional structure (MFS) and the Gilgamesh Memory, Intelligence, and Network Device (MIND) multi-core in-memory computer architecture into a single-system super-architecture. This transforms every inch of a spacecraft into a sharable, interconnected, smart computing element to increase computing performance while simultaneously reducing mass.

The MIND in-memory architecture provides a foundation for high-performance, low-power, and fault-tolerant computing. The MIND chip has an internal structure that includes memory, processing, and communication functionality. The Gilgamesh is a scalable system comprising multiple MIND chips interconnected to operate as a single, tightly coupled, parallel computer. The array of MIND components shares a global, virtual name space for program variables and tasks that are allocated at run time to the distributed physical memory and processing resources. Individual processor-memory nodes can be activated or powered down at run time to provide active power management and to configure around faults.

A SPAMS system is comprised of a distributed Gilgamesh array built into MFS, interfaces into instrument and communication subsystems, a mass storage interface, and a radiation-hardened flight computer.

This work was done by Edward T. Chow, Donald V. Schatzel, and William D. Whitaker of Caltech and Thomas Sterling of Louisiana State University for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Refer to NPO-44023, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.