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26 - 28 February 2019 // Nuremberg, Germany

Conferences and supporting programme

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Session 24 - Hardware Periphery & Interfaces

PCB Design Problems and Solutions for Embedded Supercomputing Vortragssprache Englisch

Most embedded systems are thought of as self-contained, task-specific systems with relatively low computing power and available memory. However, not all embedded applications can be served by this level of system. The Square Kilometer Array (, when operational, will be the world’s largest radio telescope. Control of the project requires not just supercomputers and big data, but embedded systems in the field to autonomously analyze and control numerous aspects of the array. These embedded systems are based on the DOME micro-server project, which is a very power efficient, compact, and economical supercomputer. In addition, DOME is scalable with set of computing modules. These Micro Server Modules comprise several functions including the processor and memory module, the FPGA module for data filtration and parallel processing, and an industrial I/O module that can interface to cameras, robotic arms, actuators and many other devices. Finally, an appropriate power module supplies the required voltages and current for up to 16 system modules. This presentation will provide a brief introduction to the Square Kilometer Array and the DOME micro-server. Then, the bulk of the presentation will look at the challenges of printed circuit board design in the context of the DOME architecture, taking into account cooling requirements. The FPGA module, industrial I/O module, and the power module will be used to highlight the challenges of designing systems and PCBs in this environment, including: • Use of Panasonic Megtron ultra-low-loss PCB material to meet size and loss constraints • Two 72-bit-wide DDR4 memory channels, requiring length balancing of 220 traces • 28 high-speed differential pairs for 10 Gbps operation • High-current power supplies — techniques for pushing the edge of PCB current density • Cooling techniques • Special layout considerations • Interface to external sensors and controls • Future expansion • All with an aggressive cost target The presentation will share the problems and challenges encountered during PCB design and layout, and how those problems were overcome.

--- Date: 28.02.2018 Time: 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM Location: Conference Counter NCC Ost



Dr. Andreas Doering

IBM Zurich Research Laboratory


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