An Open Reconfigurable Research Platform as Stepping Stone to Exascale High-Performance Computing

Dirk Stroobandt1, Catalin Bogdan Ciobanu5, Marco D. Santambrogio4, Gabriël Figueiredo3, Andreas Brokalakis8, Dionisios Pnevmatikatos2, Michael Huebner6, Tobias Becker4, Alex J. W. Thom9
1Ghent University, Belgium
2Telecommunications Systems Institute, Greece
3Imperial College London, UK
4Politecnico di Milano, Italy
5UvA, The Netherlands
6Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
7Maxeler, UK
8Synelixis, Greece
9University of Cambridge, UK


To handle the stringent performance and power requirements of future exascale-class applications, High Performance Computing (HPC) systems need ultra-efficient heterogeneous compute nodes and hardware accelerators with a high degree of specialization. Ideally, dynamic reconfiguration will be an intrinsic feature, so that specific HPC application features can be optimally accelerated, even if they regularly change over time. We create a new and flexible exploration platform for developing reconfigurable architectures, design tools and HPC applications with run-time reconfiguration built-in as a core fundamental feature instead of an add-on. Our project proposes an open research platform that covers the entire stack from architecture up to the application, focusing on the fundamental building blocks for run-time reconfigurable exascale HPC systems: new chip architectures with very low reconfiguration overhead, new tools that truly take reconfiguration as a central design concept, and applications that are tuned to maximally benefit from the proposed run-time reconfiguration techniques. Ultimately, this open platform will enable groundbreaking research towards new exascale computing platforms.

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