GENEVA and SAN JOSE, Calif., April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- At an award ceremony in Geneva today, Xilinx, Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX), the world's leading provider of programmable solutions, accepted the ALICE Industrial Collaboration Award for its contributions in support of research into particle physics at CERN's newly commissioned Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful sub-atomic particle accelerator. Professor Volker Lindenstruth, of the University of Heidelberg, presented the award on behalf of the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) team in recognition of the central role played by Xilinx(R) Virtex(R)-4 FX field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in the core measurement instrumentation.
GENEVA and SAN JOSE, Calif., April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire/ — At an award ceremony in Geneva today, Xilinx, Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX), the world's leading provider of programmable solutions, accepted the ALICE Industrial Collaboration Award for its contributions in support of research into particle physics at CERN's newly commissioned Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful sub-atomic particle accelerator. Professor Volker Lindenstruth, of the University of Heidelberg, presented the award on behalf of the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) team in recognition of the central role played by Xilinx(R) Virtex(R)-4 FX field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in the core measurement instrumentation.
"We have worked closely with Xilinx and its leading engineers for over a decade," said Professor Volker Lindenstruth. "Without the high-speed performance of the Virtex-4 devices and their active dynamic reconfiguration capability, combined with low latency serial links and high-speed LVDS interconnectivity, this project would not have been possible."
"We are proud to receive this award from such a prestigious organization," said Patrick Lysaght, senior director of Xilinx Research Labs. "It is very exciting to see the power of Xilinx Virtex-4 FX FPGAs being exploited by ALICE and Professor Lindenstruth's team to enable experiments that will play such a key role in understanding the mysteries of the universe."
Large Hadron Collider and ALICE
Considered the "most ambitious scientific undertaking on earth", the Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and most complex scientific instrument, housed in a 27- km tunnel, 100 m beneath the French-Swiss border, near Geneva. It is a sub-atomic particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles — the fundamental building blocks of all things. The aim of the experiment is to smash protons or heavy ions moving practically at the speed of light into each other and so recreate conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the "Big Bang". It promises to revolutionize our understanding from the miniscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the universe.
Two beams of atomic particles called 'hadrons' — either protons or lead ions — will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to collide the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of scientists from around the world will analyze the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.
The Role of Xilinx Virtex-4 FX FPGAs
When the counter-rotating beams of hadrons collide at extremely high energies they create a storm of sub-atomic particles. The ALICE experiment uses special photo-detectors to monitor the particles generated by the collisions. These instruments can measure the position of the thousands of particle trajectories, generated in every collision, to a fraction of a millimetre. At the heart of the Alice experiment is an array of 540 parallel particle detectors, being read out by 1080 optical links. When a detector senses an impact, it digitises its 1.2 million analogue signals and transfers precomputed track segments over fibre optic links for global processing of the complete event.
A single link can generate up to 2500 megabits/second yielding a maximum data rate of 2.7 terabits per second which is processed by a collection of 120 Xilinx Virtex-4 FX FPGAs. One XC4VFX100 device in each of 90 Track Matching Units (TMUs) performs the first level processing and data reduction simultaneously and independently. Each FPGA uses twelve multi-gigabit transceivers for data input and processes and classifies the track data on the fly.
The remaining FPGAs are connected in a tree structure to higher-level modules, where the final trigger decision is performed by the FPGA at the top of the tree. The complete system is capable of fitting and selecting more than 20,000 track parameters within a microsecond. Each XC4VFX100 FPGA has two embedded IBM PowerPC(R) microprocessors, one of which runs the Linux operating system. The PowerPC processors perform system verification and housekeeping.
About Xilinx High-Performance Virtex FPGAs
The Xilinx Virtex-4 FX platform features the industry's only dual 32-bit embedded PowerPC processors running at up to 450MHz and delivering over 700 Dhrystone MIPs each, while providing a three-fold performance advantage over processors in competing FPGAs.
On March 31, 2008 Xilinx unveiled its latest high-performance devices with the availability of the Virtex-5 FXT family, the industry's first FPGAs with embedded PowerPC 440 processor blocks, high-speed RocketIO(TM) transceivers and dedicated processing capabilities from XtremeDSP(TM). Comprising the fourth platform in the 65nm Virtex-5 family, Xilinx Virtex-5 FXT devices deliver high performance while enabling designers to reduce system costs, board space and component count. With support from Xilinx and industry-leading providers of logic, embedded and DSP development tools, and IP cores; Virtex-5 FXT FPGAs deliver the ultimate system integration platform for applications in: wired and wireless communications, audio/video broadcast equipment, military, aerospace, industrial systems, and many others. For more information on Xilinx Virtex-5 FXT devices, visit http://www.xilinx.com/virtex5fxt.
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world's largest and most respected centers for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out the structure of matter and therefore what the Universe is made of and how it works.
Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It is one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 20 Member States.
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit http://www.xilinx.com.
Xilinx, the Xilinx logo, Virtex and other designated brands included herein are trademarks of Xilinx in the U.S. and other countries. PowerPC is a registered trademark of IBM and used under license.
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