ADC – Analog to Digital Converter

This module acquires analog data signals and converts them into a digital data stream. The most important parameters are the sampling rate and resolution.


AI – Artificial Intelligence

The term originates from computer science and deals with automated decision making, which is based on intelligent learning and corresponding behavior. Known subfields of Artificial Intelligence are ‘machine learning’ and ‘deep learning’.

In the widest sense, artificial intelligence is based on pattern recognition, which is linked by means of neural networks.


AMC – Advanced Mezzanine Card

The PICMG Advanced Mezzanine Card (AdvancedMC, AMC, AMC module) specification describes computer interface cards. The original purpose was to define a successor format for PCI Mezzanine Cards (PMCs) for use as a hot-swappable mezzanine module for AdvancedTCA systems. Later, the PICMG MicroTCA specification defined enclosure systems for the operation of AMC modules. They can be plugged in from the outside and thus allow the construction of systems that are easy to maintain.

AMCs can have arbitrary functions, e.g. be I/O or CPU modules. Since each AMC slot can accommodate one CPU module, multi-processor systems can also be easily implemented. Learn more,…


ARINC – Aeronautical Radio Incorporated

ARINC is a company from the USA, which was founded in 1929 in Annapolis, Maryland. The company, which specializes in aviation, became known for the communication protocols named after it, such as ARINC 429. The ARINC communication standards are used in both civil and military aviation.



The CAN bus was developed in the 1980s for the automotive industry and is a serial bus system defined in ISO 11898-1. In the meantime, this standard can be found in all sectors and industries.


A special feature is the networking of all communication participants via a single line, a high degree of data security by means of error detection and a guarantee of redundancy by means of a simple implementation of multi-master systems.


CPCI – Compact PCI

CompactPCI is defined by PICMG and was released in 1997. It is a modular and scalable approach to building 19″ slot systems with a passive backplane that has become established for an extremely wide range of applications in industrial, commercial, aerospace, military, instrumentation, data acquisition, communications, telephony, machine control, and human-machine interface.

The specification is based on the adoption of the PCI parallel bus as the main data bus. PCI was the first universal, processor-independent computer bus adopted by all major microprocessor manufacturers.

The cards are defined in 3U and 6U Eurocard form factors mechanical standards IEEE 1101.1 and IEEE 1101.10.

One of the best known CPCI applications is its use as the main computer in the Marsrover Curiosity. Otherwise, CPCI systems can be found in all industries.

Due to the architecture, the maximum performance of CPCI systems is limited, so this standard was further developed under the name CPCI-Serial. In new systems, CPCI or CPCIS rarely plays a role; here, for example, more and more MTCA systems are being used.


CPCISCompact PCI Serial

Compact PCI Serial is the further development of the CompactPCI standard, which was published by PICMG in 2011.

In contrast to CPCI, CPCIS uses only point-to-point connections. The mechanical dimensions do not differ from CPCI systems.

CPCIS rarely plays a role in new systems, where more and more for example MTCA systems are used.


DSP – Digital Signal Processor

A DSP is a hardware component that continuously processes digital signals. If additional analog signals are to be processed, this is done in combination with an ADC converter. Typical applications are frequency filters, data compression or signal analysis.


FMC – FPGA Mezzanine Card

FMC are adapter boards defined according to VITA 57.1, which specifically capture the data for FPGAS, but are modular in design. The connection between I/O board and FPGA is made via high-pole high-speed connectors. This is used e.g. for SDR systems and Gig-Vision applications. The company NAT also offers FMCs which can be plugged twice on top of each other.


FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array

A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit which is programmed with individual logic gates. The FPGA configuration is usually specified using a hardware description language (HDL), similar to an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Unlike microprocessors, processing does not occur in a timed sequence, but rather as a function of the defined circuit structure.


FPGAs contain a set of programmable logic blocks and a hierarchy of reconfigurable interconnects that allow blocks to be routed together. The logic blocks can be configured to perform complex combinatorial functions or act as simple logic gates such as AND and XOR. In most FPGAs, the logic blocks also contain memory elements that are simple flip-flops or complete memory blocks.


FPGAs are used where fast signal processing and flexible circuit modification are required. For example, FPGAs are used for pre-processing optical image data in 10Gig Vision and SDR MTCA systems.


10GigE Vision / GigE Vision

This is an interface standard for the distribution of image data. GigE Vision is particularly characterized by the use of Gigabit Ethernet technology with which conventional network cables can be used. Furthermore, data rates of up to 1,000 Mbit/s and cable lengths of up to 100 meters can be realized without repeaters.

In the latest version ’10 GigE Vision’, data rates of up to 10,000 Mbit/s can be realized.

Up to 24 cameras can be connected to MTCA systems in a 2U chassis, including pre-processing and CPU.


HPC – High Performance Computing

High-performance computers are systems that are used for complex calculations, analyses or simulations. Often these systems consist of several CPUs and many GPUs. For common industrial applications embedded servers are used with e.g. 2x CPUs and up to 10x GPUs. The challenges are primarily in the software, which must be able to use all resources intelligently.


Mezzanine Card

A mezzanine board is an adapter board. Mezzanine means ‘between’ and in this case it means a printed circuit board which serves e.g. between the carrier board and the interface for the connection of the I/Os.

Typical mezzanine boards are PMC, XMC or FMC. The combination of mezzanine cards and carrier boards allows to build flexible and modular systems, which can be easily extended and optimized.


MTCA – Micro Tele Communication Architecture

MicroTCA defines compact backplane-based computer systems based on AdvancedMC (AMC) modules. MicroTCA systems are used in industry, research, medical technology, traffic engineering, defense technology, telecommunications and network technology. Learn more,…



The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) is a consortium of over 220 companies that jointly develop patent-free specifications for high-performance telecommunications and industrial applications. The members of the consortium are mostly pioneers for new technologies and look back on many years of development experience in their industries.

Well-known standards are CompactPCI, CompactPCI Seriel, MTCA.0, MTCA.3, MTCA.4 .


PMC – PCI Mezzanine Card

The PMC module has the PCI bus as electrical interface, which is specified in IEEE 1386.1. This is contacted with up to four connectors on the carrier, where the connectors P1 & P2 transmit the PCI bus.

Examples for PMC cards are network cards, digital/analog I/Os or communication protocols like RS232. TEWS Technologies offers a very wide range of different modules for this purpose.


VITA – VMEbus International Trade Association

VITA is a registered, non-profit organization of vendors and users who share a common market interest in modular embedded computer systems. VITA is accredited as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) developer. The major standards are the VMEbus, VPX and XMC.


VMEbus – Versa Module Europe Bus

Motorola developed a new board format with 32-bit data and address bus in the USA to market the upcoming 68000 processor family and called these boards Versa Modules. However, this board size was unsaleable in Europe, so the VMEbus was developed from it in 1981 at Motorola in Munich. The board format chosen was the common single and double Eurocard formats and the signals of the Versa Module bus were adapted to 96-pin VG strips. Since the number of pins of the VG-strips was not sufficient, lines not or rarely used so far were simply left out. All control lines, a 16-bit data bus and 24 address bits are located on one VG strip, the P1 connector. The remaining 16 data and 8 address bits are located on the b-row of the P2 connector, while rows a and c are used for I/O signals or other standard extensions. This division enabled single-Europe cards with 16-bit data bus as well as double-Europe cards with 32-bit (today 64-bit) data bus. VMEbus single-Europe cards are not very common today, the double-Europe format has prevailed. All common processor types, such as Intel’s x86 family, PowerPC and others can be used on VMEbus cards.


VMEbus systems have up to 20 slots, on the other hand a VMEbus card can also be used individually without a backplane. The VMEbus is a multi-processor bus system, i.e. several CPU boards can communicate with each other or with several I/O boards. VME64 systems have 64-bit bus width for data and addresses. With the 2eSST protocol extension with a transfer rate of 320 Mbit/s, the VMEbus was made fit for the increased requirements in 2003. Today, VMEbus systems are used in countless applications in industry, research, medical technology, aerospace and defense technology.


XMCPCI Express Mezzanine Card

Is the further development of PMC modules, which can be used for high-speed protocols, such as PCI Express. These are specified in VITA 42.0.

Examples are 10GigE interfaces or analog I/Os with 24bit sampling rate. TEWS Technologies offers a very wide range of different modules for this purpose.