For anyone who doubts the graphics processing power of Linux, the US Air Force is introducing their latest real time 3D graphics processing system built around the SGI Altix ICE 8200 supercomputer. Rated as one of the 500 most powerful computers in the world.
The system code named DESCH (named for Joseph Desch, who led the secret WWII project which developed a decoder for the Nazi Enigma encrypted messages.) collects terabytes of raw data gathered by the USAF Gotcha's synthetic aperture radar equipped UAV's orbiting over an area of interest in a war zone.
The system images a 5km dia "city sized" view and processes the result into 3D image maps while recording to disk for review. The 400 Megapixel per second streaming images allow zooms into areas of interest, observation of minute changes and the ability to track personel and vehicals in the urban battle field.
From the article — Dr. Michael Minardi, program manager for the Gotcha radar, said the Desch supercomputer is analogous to the lens of a highly sophisticated camera. "A camera takes a coherent light field and bends it through a series of curved glass lenses to create an image," Dr. Minardi said. "We've replaced the lens with a supercomputer which uses algorithms to mimic what a lens does in creating an image from Gotcha's raw radar data." —
It's purpose is to identifty and track insurgents and use the recorded image data to backback their movements and identify points of origin. This will allow the detection of future activity originating from the same locations.
"The Police" said it best with "Every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you!"