APRON (Array Processing Environment) is a suite of tools and scripts that can be used to investigate and experiment with array based algorithms and ideas. It is a highly visual environment, where you can inspect array contents in real-time during running simulations. You can even interact with and change parameters during a running simulation – a great way to gain an intuitive understanding of array based algorithms and models!
APRON is largely developed by David R W Barr, (with contributions from others) who is a research associate of Piotr Dudek, working in the Microelectronics Design Laboratory at the University of Manchester, UK.
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APRON was designed to provide fast and flexible simulations of:
- Image Processing
- Video Processing
- Biologically Inspired Neural Networks
- Computer Vision
- Cellular Non-linear Networks (CNN)
- Cellular Processor Arrays
…and is fast enough to be used as a core computational component of many real-time and robotic systems.
APRON is not a library of software functions. It is an semi-compiled/interpreted programming language, with highly optimised routines implementing many common and uncommonly used array operations. Algorithms are written in APRON-Script, which is a high-level functional “assembly-like” language, making it ideal for both low-level applications (such as modelling new processor architectures), and high-level (feature recognition in bio-inspired visual systems).
This video shows the typical workflow and algorithm development experience:
If APRON lacks a certain function, it is very easy to extend the core instruction set. In fact, this is encouraged! Creating a plug-in is very simple, requiring the implementation of just 1 function. The process of extending APRON is documented with screen-shots!
To date, APRON has been integrated/extended to use:
- USB Webcams
- FireWire cameras
- Neuromorphic Systems
- Silicon Retina
- Silicon Cochlea
- Robot arms
- Pan and Tilt
- Custom Vision Sensors
- SCAMP3 & SCAMP4
- ASPA2 & ASPA3
- Beowulf Clusters
- UDP/TCP Networking