Infrastructure Cloud (FAbRIC)
Derek Chiou (PI, UT
Austin), Arvind (MIT), Joel Emer (Intel/MIT), James Hoe
(CMU), Shih-Lien Lu (Intel), and John Wawrzynek (Berkeley)
is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. 1205721 and generous donations from Altera,
Bluespec, ImpulseC, Intel, and Xilinx.
has tremendous potential in terms of performance and power
efficiency. However, the high cost of such systems, the high cost
of the tools needed to program such systems, and need to program
at a very low level together put such systems out of reach of most
researchers. The FAbRIC (FPGA Research Infrastructure Cloud)
project will acquire and maintain such systems and their tools in
the Texas Advanced Computing
Center for open use by all researchers. In addition, the PIs
will port our own reconfigurable hardware "operating systems" to
the platforms to dramatically improve their usability and our own
applications to serve as starting points for future work.
Having an open, shared resource of this kind makes some of the
highest performance computational power available to all
researchers, regardless of their location or their ability to
purchase and maintain such systems. The project team will run
distributed classes for students and researchers to learn how to
use such platforms. In addition, the default usage model of "open
source to play" enables anyone who agrees to let the team publish
their open source code to use the facility free of charge. Such a
shared platform with free industrial-strength tools and open
sourced code finally enables true reproducibility of research
results and the ability to leverage others' work.
The award started June 1, 2012. We are in the process of
evaluating FPGA platforms to be included in FAbRIC.
In addition to NSF support, Altera
and Xilinx have both
committed FPGA donations and their entire suite of CAD tools, Intel has provided funds for
the CAD tool servers, Bluespec
has commited their Bluespec compiler, and Impulse Accelerated
Technologies has commited their ImpulseC C-to-gates
compiler. We are in active discussions with other companies
who are interested in contributing their technologies to FAbRIC.