Xilinx has unveiled radiation-tolerant Kintex UltraScale programmable chips that can be utilized in satellites and different area {hardware}.

These sorts of chips, which might endure harsh radiation in area, may very well be the brains of orbital area purposes corresponding to satellite tv for pc payloads, the place they provide a 10-fold improve in digital sign processing efficiency over earlier variations, Xilinx stated. That means the chips can take information from sensors and course of them effectively.

Xilinx designs discipline programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), or chips that may be programmed or re-programmed after they’re put into {hardware}. The Kintex UltraScale FPGA chips are the primary that use a 20-nanometer manufacturing course of (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter), changing the older 65-nanometer course of earlier chips used.

The XQRKU060 chip additionally brings high-performance machine studying (ML) to area for the primary time. A various portfolio of ML improvement instruments, supporting trade normal frameworks that embrace TensorFlow and PyTorch, permits neural community inference acceleration for real-time on-board processing in area with an entire “process and analyze” answer.

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The chip has dense, power-efficient computing with scalable precision and a big on-chip reminiscence. It gives 5.7 tera operations per second (TOPs) of peak INT8 efficiency optimized for deep studying. That’s 25 instances higher than the prior technology.

The result’s extra processing for a major discount in dimension, weight, and energy — all key elements if you’re designing a chip that’s used within the harsh setting of area the place bodily area is a premium. Minal Sawant, system architect and area merchandise supervisor at Xilinx, stated in an announcement that the tech is “ideal for high bandwidth payloads, space exploration, and research missions.”

The XQRKU060 is the trade’s solely on-orbit reconfigurable chip, Xilinx stated. That means it may very well be up in area in a chunk of {hardware} after which be reprogrammed to do one thing else.

The on-orbit reconfiguration capabilities, along with real-time on-board processing and ML acceleration, permits satellites to replace in actual time, ship video-on-demand, and carry out compute “on-the-fly” to course of advanced algorithms. The firm stated the ML capabilities swimsuit quite a lot of issues spanning scientific evaluation, object detection, and picture classification, corresponding to cloud detection.

Flight models of the 20-nanometer RT Kintex UltraScale space-grade XQRKU060-1CNA1509 FPGA shall be obtainable in September.