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ORBexpress FPGA Speeds FPGA Integration on SDRs, other Signal Processing Applications
HERNDON, VA - November 7, 2006 - Objective Interface Systems, Inc. today announced a new, ground-breaking version of its widely used communications middleware product. ORBexpress® FPGA, designed specifically for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), a VHSIC Hardware Description Language (VHDL) implementation of the world’s fastest Object Request Broker (ORB) directly into hardware blocks on an FPGA. ORBexpress FPGA fully supports the Virtex™ series of FPGAs from Xilinx®. This high-performance, small-footprint Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) ORB enables easy integration of FPGAs into a variety of signal processing applications, including software defined radios (SDRs). It provides performance increases of up to 100x over software running on a general purpose processor (GPP).

ORBexpress FPGA was architected and designed to support partial reconfiguration, an important feature for modern FPGA designs. Partial Reconfiguration is a process of device configuration that allows a limited, predefined portion of the FPGA to be reconfigured while the remainder of the device continues to operate. By activating and simultaneously running multiple modes of operation on the fly, partial reconfiguration facilitates communications across multiple channels via a single signal processing application. It can also reduce the reconfiguration time of the FPGA by not having to reload the static infrastructure, allowing for faster dynamic response time. In addition, partial reconfiguration can be used with the Virtex-4 FX family to keep the embedded processor live while a separate portion of the FPGA is being reconfigured. This advanced technology delivers power, space and cost savings on the FPGA.

Lyrtech, a worldwide leader in DSP-FPGA development platforms, commented on Objective Interface’s new technology:

"Partial reconfiguration is a powerful technology from a design perspective. ORBexpress significantly eases the design flow because it has been built from the ground up for partial reconfiguration. ORBexpress FPGA allows legions of developers to more easily reconfigure FPGAs on SDRs and other signal processing applications," said Louis Bélanger, Chief Technology Officer at Lyrtech. "Lyrtech has successfully used and integrated ORBexpress FPGA in our new SDR development platform. We are very pleased with the performance and ease of integration with this technology. The FPGA resources used by ORBexpress FPGA were much smaller than our requirements."

"Our forthcoming SDR development platforms will feature a tight integration of ORBexpress FPGA and ORBexpress running on other DSP and GPP processors," continued Mr. Bélanger. "Thus, our SDR development platforms combine the very small and fast ORBexpress communications infrastructure with highly efficient inter-processor transports. The result is a pre-integrated development platform that is both flexible and offers a fully optimized foundation to bring products to market quickly."

Xilinx commented on the significance of the Objective Interface announcement:

"Objective Interface has put their communications middleware into hardware blocks on the Virtex series of FPGAs, allowing engineers to more easily use high-performance Xilinx FPGAs in their designs," said Manuel Uhm, Senior Marketing Manager for the DSP Division at Xilinx. "This middleware technology simplifies the programming of FPGAs for performance-intensive signal processing applications, while also significantly increasing application code reuse, which is becoming critical in sophisticated systems such as SDRs running wideband waveforms."

Because ORBexpress is the defacto standard in SDRs, a Xilinx FPGA implementation of ORBexpress allows engineers to easily incorporate Xilinx FPGAs in the signal processing chain.

Flexibility and High Performance

ORBexpress FPGA provides location transparency and processing mobility, two features that promote the flexibility of FPGA-based applications. Location transparency makes it easier to move logic or a piece of logic among processor technologies such as digital signal processors (DSPs), GPPs and FPGAs. Engineers can re-allocate logic without having to redesign systems from scratch; an enormous savings in time, resulting in much faster time-to-market and better product adaptability in subsequent revisions. Processing mobility leverages location transparency, allowing designers to move logic to another processor with ease.

"When approaching the FPGA market, we recognized the need to design an ORB that was extremely easy to use and could leverage all of the inherent benefits of FPGAs," said Bill Beckwith, CEO/CTO, Objective Interface Systems. "We have worked hard to make partial reconfigurability easily accessible to a wider range of designers. In addition, we have architected ORBexpress FPGA from the ground up so that no prior knowledge of CORBA is required, eliminating a hurdle for FPGA designers who want to use CORBA in their systems."

ORBexpress FPGA supports the complete range of ideal data types in Interface Definition Language (IDL), further adding to the flexibility it provides systems architects, FPGA designers, technical managers and other users. ORBexpress FPGA does not require a GPP core on the FPGA and it fully supports seamless integration with a GPP core implemented in an FPGA.

ORBexpress FPGA sets a performance standard for CORBA on an FPGA. Mr. Beckwith commented further: "ORBexpress FPGA supports very fast clock rates while requiring very low gate counts on the Virtex series of FPGAs. The result is extremely high performance in a small form factor. Our Early Access Version is significantly faster than any GPP-based CORBA implementation yet tested on any GPP processor."

About ORBexpress FPGA from Objective Interface

ORBexpress FPGA is a new version of ORBexpress, the industry’s most widely deployed ORB for SDR. Software Communications Architecture (SCA)-based SDRs are systems that use CORBA for the design and deployment of their radio application.

As a small-footprint product, ORBexpress optimizes the use of scarce resources, which is important for resource-constrained applications such as radios. As real-time communications middleware, ORBexpress provides the predictability of behavior and reliability required for radios and other signal processing platforms.

ORBexpress is based on the Real-time CORBA standard that enables real-time and embedded devices in heterogeneous environments to communicate seamlessly. Thousands of customers worldwide have used the ORBexpress communications infrastructure to build more flexible, upgradeable and capable products.

The Early Access Version of ORBexpress FPGA is available now from Objective Interface Systems. For more information on ORBexpress FPGA and the Objective Interface portfolio of communications middleware, please visit:, call 1 800-800-OIS7 or 1 703-295-6500 in the U.S., +33 (0) 6 68 35 15 45 in Europe or +81 (0)3-5623-2112 in Japan or e-mail inquiries to:

About Objective Interface Systems

Objective Interface is the worldwide leader of high-performance, real-time and embedded communications middleware solutions. The company provides CORBA ORBs, publish-subscribe technology based on the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service standard (DDS), and secure communications middleware development tools based on the Multiple Independent Levels of Safety/Security (MILS) architecture to meet the high-performance requirements of military and aerospace, telecommunications, data communications, industrial automation and process control, transportation, robotics and consumer electronics markets. Objective Interface products are the communications core of many mission-critical products and systems including mission-critical avionics systems, network management, vehicle control and management systems, software defined radio, telecommunication systems, process control systems and nuclear fusion ignition facilities. Objective Interface customers consist of the world’s most advanced product and engineering organizations including Atlas Elektronik, Boeing, BAE Systems, British Aerospace, CERN, Daimler-Benz, EADS, Ericsson, Eurocontrol, General Dynamics, Harris, Havelsan, Hughes Network Systems, Indra, ITT, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, Lockheed Martin, Lucent, Nikon, Nortel, Northrop Grumman, Philips, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins, Saab, Samsung, Sandia, Selex Communications, Spectrum Signal, Telefunken, Thales, TRW, the U.S. Department of Defense, ViaSat and many others. For more information, please visit: