Miscellaneous Research

I've done quite a few very strange things over the years....

Some of the big ones:

Breakdown of my current research (with paper references – note that the best papers are highlighted in blue)

X-Sat and

My role was to be in charge of the software and hardware design, development and building of the main on-board computer (using a radiation hardened ERC32 processor – see above), the parallel processing unit (PPU – the world's first Linux cluster, aka Beowulf system, in space, see layout below), and the on-board mass-storage unit (see bottom). I was heavily involved from the year 2000 until about 2005, but then the government defence organisation staged a coup and took over leadership from the academics who had designed and built the system... so I quickly moved on. However despite the DSO takeover, the satellite was eventually launched several years late in 2011. It still contained all three of my designs!

You can read a little more here, see some photos here or read a document about it here.

Nano-satellite – in my spare time I worked on this with some students and with Prof. Arichandran Kandiah (one of the most versatile and excellent people I have ever worked with), and Stefan Lendnal (talented, good engineer). In the end we didn't launch our design into space (only the stratosphere - see below), but we had a prototype that worked pretty well!

  • McLoughlin I, Bretschneider T., “Reliability through redundant parallelism for micro-satellite computing”, ACM Trans. Embedded Computing Systems, Vol. 9, Issue 3, pp. 26:1-26:25, Aug. 2009

  • Bretschneider T, Ramesh BR, McLoughlin I., “The first Linux Beowulf cluster in Space”, Linux Journal, Vol. 2005, Issue 137, Sept. 2005

  • McLoughlin I, Bretschneider T.R. and Chen Z, “Virtualized development and testing for embedded cluster computing”, Int. Journal of Networking and Comms., (accepted 28 May 2012)

  • (invited chapter) B. Ramesh, D. Mohan, T. Bretschneider, McLoughlin I, “Centralised computation service architecture for the X-Sat micro-satellite”, Academy of Astronautics (Small Satellites for Earth Observation), Eds. H.-P. Roser, R. Sandau, A. Valenzuela, May 2005

  • T. Bretschneider, D.Soo, McLoughlin I, Eds. Proceedings of the 3rd Asian Space Conference, ISBN 978-981058611-9, June 2007

  • McLoughin I. “Virtualized development and testing of embedded computing clusters”, The Second International Conference on Networking and Computing, Osaka, Japan, Nov. 2011

  • Shukla S, Tan SH, McLoughlin I, ”Development of Nano-satellite Space segment and Ground Station”, Pravara International Conference on Emerging Trends in Engineering, India, Dec. 2008

  • McLoughlin I, Bretschneider T, “Achieving Low-cost High-reliability Computation Through Redundant Parallel Processing”, IEEE Int. Conf. on Computing & Informatics (ICOCI2006), KL, Malaysia, June 2006

  • Ramesh B, Mohan D, Bretschneider T McLoughlin I, “Centralised computation service architecture for the X-Sat micro-satellite”, Proc. 5th International Academy of Aeronautics Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, 4th - 8th April 2005, Berlin, Germany, May 2005

  • Bretschneider T, Ramesh B, Gupta V, McLoughlin I, “Low-cost space-borne processing on a reconfigurable parallel architecture Proc. of the International Conference on Engineering of Reconfigurable Systems and Algorithms, Las Vegas, USA, pp. 93-99, 2004

  • Lim SL, McLoughlin I, Bretschneider T, Schroder H, “Reconfigurable, fault tolerant and high performance payload for space mission”, MAPLD conference, Washington DC USA, 2004

  • Ramesh B, Bretschneider T, McLoughlin I, “Embedded Linux Platform for a Fault-Tolerant Space Based Parallel Computer”, Proc. 6th Real-Time Linux Workshop, pp.39-46, Singapore, 2004

  • Ramesh B, Mohan D, McLoughlin I, Madhusudhanan M, “On-board data handling system for the X-Sat mission”, Proc. 1st Asian Space Conference Chiang Mai Thailand, 2004

  • Mohan D, Arichandran K, McLoughlin I, “Fault-tolerant Computer for Low Earth Orbit Micro-satellites”, Proc. 6th Symposium on Small Satellite Systems and Services La Rochelle, France, 2004

  • McLoughlin I, “Design testing and Verification of a microsatellite on-board data processing unit using commercial grade processor”. 2001 Int. Conf. on Integrated Circuits and Systems, Singapore, 2001

Stratospheric Testing

Have you ever built a computer system packed with sensors and launched on a hydrogen balloon over India to reach a height of 30km? Well my students and I did! Take a look at the poster below:

  • McLoughlin I, Agarwal Manuj Prakash, Shukla S, Tan SH, Arichandran K, Tan CM, Sawant VS, Manchanda RK, “Use of high-altitude balloon platforms for small satellite testing”, Int. Workshop on Digital Television and Infotainment., Malaysia, May 2008


Seven of us, led by a famous Caltech Professor, applied for funding from the Singapore Government's National Research Foundation(NRF). Amazingly, we won the funding – S$150 million – to cover the first 10 year life of our Research Centre of Excellence, EOS!

My part in the original application was to handle all of the data sensing, communications and processing. When the Centre began in 2009, I handled quite a lot of the initial setting up (computers, networking, initial hiring and interviews)... gradually my role decreased until I left Singapore in 2012... It was actually a huge amount of work over those years, with not many papers to show for it!

Above all, thanks to Associate Professor Tan Su Lim and Associate Professor Steven Wong for sharing the role with me, as well as sharing various trips to places like a volcano in Indonesia and around various research institutes in Japan...

The following posters outline – in turn – our 2009, 2010 and 2011 work:

  • McLoughlin I., Tan S.L., Wong K.J., “Data collection, communications and processing in the sumatran GPS array (SuGAr)”, Proc. Int. Conf. Wireless Networking 2011, London, UK, July 2011

  • Zeng W, Zhong C,Arisona SM, McLoughlin I, “MetroBuzz: Interactive 3D Visualization of Spatio-temporal Data”, 2012 International Conference on Computer and Information Sciences, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 2012

  • I. McLoughlin, LM Ang, WB Goh, “Multitouch wall displays for informational interactive collaborative space”, Digital Urban Modelling and Simulation, Eds. Stefan Muller Arisona, Gideon Aschwanden, Jan Halatsch. Peter Wonka, Vol. 242, Springer, ISBN 978-3642297571

Radar (SAR)


Polarimetric SAR

With thanks to Dr Timo Bretschneider, EADS, my long-time collaborator first on X-Sat and then on this NTU-funded project for getting me in to this interesting research area! And of course to (soon-to-be-Dr) Le Thanh Hai.

  • Nguyen Huy, McLoughlin I, Bretschnieder T, “Fast and accurate GCPS selection scheme for image registration based on an improved Trajkovic corner detector”, Proc. IEEE Int. Geoscience & Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), Japan, March 2013

  • Thanh Hai Le, McLoughlin I, “SLC SAR speckle filtering using homoskedastic features of logarithmic transformation”, 31st Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS), Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 2013

  • Thanh Hai Le, McLoughlin I, Ken Yoong Lee, Bretschneider T, “Neural Network-Assisted Reconstruction of Full Polarimetric SAR Information”, Int. Symp. Communications, Control and Signal Processing, Cyprus, March 2010

  • Nguyen QH, Aung MT, Lee KY, Bretschneider T, McLoughlin I, “Hardware-accelerated edge detection for polarimetric synthetic aperture radar data”, Proc. IEEE International Geoscience & Remote Sensing Symposium, Cape Town, South Africa, July 2009

  • Nguyen Huy, McLoughlin I, Bretschnieder T, “A Hysteresis Technique for SAR Change Detection Based on the Generalized Minimum‐Error Thresholding Algorithm”, 12th URSI Commission‐F Triennial Open Symposium on Radio Wave Propagation and Remote Sensing, Garmisch‐Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany, March 2013

  • Nguyen QH, Aung MT, Bretschneider T, McLoughlin I, “Dynamic scaling scheme for hardware-accelerated edge detection”, 3rd Asia-Pacific Embedded Systems Education and Research Conference, Singapore, Dec. 2009

© 2014 by Professor Ian McLoughlin of NELSLIP and USTC.