Tag Archives: XtremeData

Picking your problems

Geno Valente of XtremeData has written an excellent article titled To Accelerate or not to accelerate, appearing this week on embedded.com.

A key point made in this article is that high-performance computing applications, meaning such things as life sciences, financial computing, oil and gas exploration and the like, can learn quite a lot from the world of embedded systems.

Embedded systems designers already face critical issues of power vs. performance and the need to combine a wide variety of diverse processing resources. These resources include embedded processors, DSPs, FPGAs, ASSPs and custom hardware. These devices, when combined, could be thought of as a hybrid processing platform.

In the HPC world, however, the dominant approach has been to create clusters of identical processors connected by high-speed networks. Only recently have alternative accelerators such as FPGA, GPU and Cell been added to the mix, and at this point only by a small minority of HPC users and platform developers.

So… I’m in total agreement; we need to start gently applying the same knowledge and understanding of system optimizations (including power optimizations, partitioning, and an understanding of pipelining and data streaming) that is commonplace in embedded systems design, to the problems facing HPC. And of course improve the tools and libraries to make accelerated computing platforms easier for HPC programmers to pick up and use.

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Who writes these headlines, anyway?

I mean this one:

XtremeData Volunteers to Serve as Intel’s FPGA Busboy

Tacky, groan-worthy headline aside, the story is that Intel now has multiple FPGA partners (I hope that doesn’t trigger thoughts of some other headline) in its push to promote FSB acceleration. XtremeData has already proven it’s able to deliver on AMD Opteron socket solutions, based on Altera FPGAs.

2008 will be an interesting year indeed for FPGA co-processor acceleration.

 

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