Low Cost Cluster Computer Produces Underwater Acoustic Fields
Research and development of fields such as seabed composition, communications with in situ oceanographic instruments and marine biology will be greatly assisted with the development of a low cost, cluster computer capable of generating and graphically displaying underwater acoustic fields. An intuitive user interface goes a long way in making the modelling system simpler and easier to use by both veteran researchers and student assistants as well.
The product builds on a popular ARM V8 based system (a 1.2 GHz, 64 bit, quad core processor) which scales very easily into a multiple CPU cluster while still retaining its low cost production benefits. In a teaching / learning, research environment, unlike current commercial systems which offer similar technical capabilities at huge price tags, this system is inexpensive enough to outfit an entire lab within a reasonable cost framework.
The design characteristics of the system have been constrained to highlight reusability and flexibility of applicability so any benefits may be easily shared by multiple departments in a College environment thus further reducing the required, capital expenditure by any individual department.
The local college, for whom the prototype is currently being developed, expects to realize improvements not only in their Oceans Technology department but with the desktop, distributed data acquisition and control environment and the parallel, algorithmic nature of the system, the Electronics and Computer Technologies departments are expected to see enhancements in their programs, as well.
As is typical in an educational institute, the practical capabilities of this system are completely complementary to the theoretical background students gain in the fields of Oceanography, Electronics Engineering and Computer Engineering and positions students very favourably in their career prospects, post graduation. The product has the potential to share those advantages with a larger research and development community.