We put together this paper that Keith presented at SC to summarize our experiences in offloading floating-point operatiosn to FPGAs on systems like the Cray XD1.
Reconfigurable computing leveraging field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) is one of many accelerator technologies that are being investigated for application to high performance computing (HPC). Like most accelerators, FPGAs are very efficient at both dense matrix multiplication and FFT computations, but two important aspects of how to deliver that performance to applications have received too little attention. First, the standard API for important compute kernels hides parallelism from the system. Second, the issue of system architecture is virtually never addressed. This paper explores both issues and their implications for applications. We find that high bandwidth, low latency connectivity can be important, but the right API can be even more important.