In addition to the various workstations in the department, there are
a number of machines that have special capabilities that may be useful for
An important computer vision resource is a set of boxes we call
The idea of a computational sensor is to put a lot of computation close
to the camera to perform fast preliminary processing, and hook it into a
fast network so that additional processing power (e.g. a cluster or
high-end multiprocessor) can be brought to bear if needed.
The current basic model is a dual processor Linux box with
lots of main memory, a big chunk of local RAID disk storage,
(intended to store video data short term),
and gigabit ethernet connections.
There are currently three generations of these machines in the
All utilize dual Intel Xeon processors (the Xeon is basically a Pentium III
with additional level 2 cache and some other extras),
1GB of main memory, and 280GB of RAID disk storage.
Generation 1 boxes have shark names (gulper, wobbegong etc.) and
1.5 GHz processors. There are 4 of these in the vision lab, set up
as workstations, and intended to have user-selected cameras attached
Generation 2 boxes have shellfish names (Lobster, Mussel, etc.)
and 2.0 GHz processors. There are 4 of these in a bank in the vision
lab, with ceiling-mounted cameras connected to them. These
are intended to be stable connections.
The bank machines are typically accesed remotely, though there
is a terminal switch connected to the bank. Shrimp is set up as
Generation 3 boxes have whale names (humpback, bowhead etc.) and
3.0 GHz processors. There are 3 of these in the software lab, each
connected to a pair of ceiling-mounted cameras.
4 others will eventually be placed in a bank in the vision lab,
along with the generation 2 machines.
There are two old Solaris multiprocessors, important mainly because
they are currently the only way we can control the robot arms
and the hand.
Both are shut off, but might work if turned on.
Brain is a Sun multiprocessor with 4 167 MHz processors, and 2 gigabytes
of core. It has one or two KTV digitizers attached.
It was originally intended for running experiments requiring large amounts
of memory, but the aorta and the alpha cluster now have even more.
It is getting a bit long in the tooth now but might still be
useful for applications needing two digitizers, and has enough memory
to make it useful for digitizing video sequences, even if it can't
quite handle frame rates.
Aorta is a newer Sun multiprocessor with 8 336 MHz processors and 3 gigabytes
of core. It runs the robot peripherals in the lab, including the two puma
arms, the Utah hand, the Maxvideos, and miscellaneous other equipment.
It also has two KTV digitizers attached.
The idea is to provide a central resource that can coordinate a number
of peripherals for experiments in hand-eye coordination etc.
It could also be used for experiments requiring large amounts of computation
or memory, but check to make sure it is not running some real-time
experiment before loading it with some time-hog program.
There are also the department multi-processors and clusters, which are
available for computational purposes, though getting dedicated use
would take some scheduling.
These include the IBM Regatta machine (32 power-4 processors with
integrated shared memory), two Sun multiprocessors, (a 16 and a
32 processor machine), and the department linux cluster (64 dual-pentium4
Quite a set of resources if you can think of something to do with them.
Then there are two SGI Onyx infinite reality engines, graphite and silicon,
which can produce texture-mapped graphics for complicated scenes at frame
These are used to drive VR equipment in the virtual reality lab, but are
also available for other applications.
The older box, graphite, is particularly underutilized.
If you really want to do graphics, these boxes are for you.
Of course you will have to figure out how to use them.
They may not be around much longer, as much of the VR lab equipment is
leaving with Dana.
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