A GPU-based Soft Real-Time System for Simultaneous EEG Processing and Visualization
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EEG processing is generally acknowledged as a computationally very intensive task. The execution of pre-processing steps, frequency domain operations and source localisation algorithms result in long execution times, which prohibit the use of high-resolution EEG brain imaging techniques outside research laboratory settings. We present a novel GPU-based streaming architecture, which has the potential to drastically reduce execution times and, at the same time, provide simultaneous 2D and 3D visualization facilities. The system uses a highly-optimised and re-configurable pipeline of CPU and GPU cores that attempts to exploit the tremendous computing power whenever possible. The system can process live data arriving from an EEG device or data stored in EEG data files. The computer drives a large display wall system consisting of four 46-inch monitors, which provides a 4K-resolution drawing surface for visualising raw EEG data, potential maps and various 3D views of the patient head. Two example brain imaging algorithms, the surface Laplacian and the spherical forward solution are used as an illustration for the effective use of the massively parallel GPU hardware in speeding up computations. The paper describes the architecture of the system, the key design decisions, and the performance optimization steps that were required to achieve sub-millisecond per-sample execution times. The control
ow of the system is expressed in a very modular fashion in Java but the performance-critical algorithms are programmed in CUDA and run on the GPU. Relying on the CUDA-OpenGL interoperability bridge, the computing subsystem feeds visualisation results directly into the OpenGL pipeline, eliminating unnecessary GPU-Host data transfers. The system demonstrates that up to three orders of magnitude speedups are achievable compared to MATLAB implementations, and this processing speed can be maintained during simultaneous interactive 3D visualisation of the results.
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