Wednesday, 03 February 2016 09:23

Fujitsu cracks high-speed image search


Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a combination of hardware and software that can perform extremely rapid image matching.

Fujitsu's new approach to image searching is more than fifty times faster than using a general-purpose server, the company claimed.

By using an FPGA-based hardware accelerator it is possible to search very quickly through an enormous archive to find even partial matches of a designated still image.

The idea is to be able to retrieve images that are similar to or related to an initial image.

Researchers analysed the partial-image search algorithm, and determined that the feature extraction process and the matching process could be relocated to an FPGA, taking advantage of the flexibility of the FPGA's processing units and parallelisation.

They also developed a scheduling technology that could keep the FPGA supplied with data, minimising wasted processing time.

Fujitsu's prototype can search a database of more than 10,000 images and retrieve matches of any desired portion in about one second. An otherwise similar but conventional server takes more than a minute to complete this task.

Taking another perspective, the prototype required less than one thirtieth of the electrical power and less than one fiftieth of the cubic volume of space as multiple general-purpose servers yielding comparable performance.

The expectation is that this technology will allow organisations to put their image archives to better use by enabling almost instant searching.

The company will demonstrate the technology later this month at the Fujitsu North America Technology Forum 2016 in California.

Fujitsu has set itself the goal of developing a practical implementation during its 2016 fiscal year, and plans to develop other domain-specific (ie, special-purpose) servers where increased performance is sought.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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