Reconfigurable Supercomputing (RSC)
Authors: Prof. Martin Herbordt (Boston University)
Abstract: Reconfigurable Supercomputing (RSC) is characterized by hardware that adapts to match the needs of each application, offering unique advantages in performance per unit energy for high-end computing. 2017 continues breakout for RSC. Last year’s highlights included datacenter deployment by Microsoft, acquisition of Altera by Intel, and successful large-scale RSC in the NSF CHREC Center. This year is highlighted by deployment of publicly available RSC nodes and clusters by AWS and Baidu. This BoF introduces architectures of such systems, describes applications and tools being developed, and provides a forum for discussing emerging opportunities and issues for performance, productivity, and sustainability.
Long Description: RSC is a novel computing paradigm that offers the potential to improve performance and power efficiency of many computationally intensive scientific codes beyond what is possible on today’s mainstream high-performance computers. RSC systems leverage configurable hardware, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), for direct hardware execution of computationally intensive kernels and to provide highly efficient and flexible interconnects. The RSC community, academic and industrial, has been exploring this computing paradigm for over a decade, and the technology has proven itself to be practical in machine learning, web service, bioinformatics, imaging, finance, and many other domains. This year continues the explosion of activity with publicly available computation nodes at AWS, Baidu, and other web service providers; the continued success of OpenCL programming tools for FPGAs; and numerous product announcements from vendors large and small. After many years as a promising technology, RSC has entered the mainstream of high-performance computing.
The goal of this BOF is to provide a forum for computational scientists interested in RSC to present and discuss latest progress and trends in the field. Topics of interest include architectures, languages, compilers, tools, libraries, run-time systems, performance modeling, benchmarks, algorithms, applications, and the latest trends and developments in the field of RSC. Two primary benefits to SC are anticipated:
1. This BOF will be the primary presence of RSC during the main conference (along with a Friday workshop). The BOF will therefore serve as a meeting place for its members, especially those who cannot make the workshop, and will also add this community to SC. Unlike the workshop, which is expected to draw researchers and practitioners already working with RSC, this BOF is also intended to attract SC attendees interested but unfamiliar with RSC.
2. This BOF will showcase RSC developments to the SC community that would not otherwise be available. This year these developments will again include high-quality academic work as well as presentations of new technology from new and existing vendors and experiences with major deployments. Every year, we offer presentations by industry leaders, including chip vendors (e.g., Intel, Xilinx, Micron), system vendors (e.g., IBM, Convey), board vendors (e.g., Nallatech, Pico), and end users (Microsoft Catapult). Each year, major new introductions have been discussed, such as FPGAs in the Cloud, Micron’s automata processor, IBM’s FPGA-enhanced servers with CAPI, and introduction of OpenCL by Intel and Xilinx. This year, we will hear the latest from these key players, as well as new developments such as AWS about their RSC innovations, Intel about their new CPU-FPGA devices, and the Novo-G# Forum about advances in large-scale direct accelerator-accelerator communication.
This year is the 8th consecutive BOF on RSC at SC. All have been tremendously successful with excellent attendance, lively discussion, and much positive feedback. In particular, versions held during the Tuesday 5:30-7:00 slot (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016) each attracted over 60 attendees and provided time for extended talks and discussions. With the tremendous increase in interest in RSC in 2017, we anticipate another successful BOF.
Conference Presentation: pdf
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