Jane Hewitson

B.Sc. (Engineering in Mechatronics), University of Cape Town


I graduated in 2007 and have am currently working on the initial phase of my MSc in Electrical Engineering through the University of Cape Town. I am based at the CSIR's CHPC (Center for high performance computing) as part of the ACE (Advanced computer engineering) research group.

Undergraduate Research Project

My undergraduate final year project involved the design and prototype construction of an automated sun-tracking sun photometer. The concept proposed involved the continual positioning of a LED based sun photometer according to the sun's apparent movement. I was supervised by Mr S. Ginsberg.

Postgraduate Research Project

For my MSc I'm working on the VHDL side of a project looking to take FORTRAN directly onto FPGAs. The concept involves having one static image on an FPGA capable of receiving dynamic preprocessed FORTRAN codes. If a proof-of-concept implementation proves promising, the idea exists to further the project by implementing a system of scaled-fractions which would allow computation to be carried out on integers as opposed to floating-point values. Thereby enabling greater and more efficient use of the FPGA resources and greater speed-ups as such. Specifically the aim is to utilise the performance gain FPGAs and parallel computing potentially offer simulation applications. But in a manner that removes the need to re-write into VHDL the many existing, optimised, well understood, FORTRAN codes, and then to further enhance the possible speed up's by adding the advantage gained in reducing the FPGA resources used that scaled fractions might bring.

I am currently busy developing the prototype HDL image and hope to have version 2 and possibly a scaled-fractions capable version complete by year end. The ACE group has a couple of Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGAs on Nallatech's H101-PCIXM cards which will be useful for proof-of-concept testing. The complete scalablity of the concept means that it will be a relatively simple matter to transfer the completed work to a Virtex 5 or higher with predictable gains.

I am being supervised by Prof M. Inggs in collaboration on this project with Dr J. Collins and Brian Farrimond of Liverpool Hope University and SimCon.

Contact Details

Ubuntu Lab CHPC

15 Lower Hope Rd


Phone (work): 021 658 3975

Phone (cell): 084 571 6583

email: janeruthh@gmail.com

[Last updated 12/03/08]