The prospect of FPGA-powered supercomputing has never looked brighter. The availability of more performant chips, the maturation of the OpenCL toolchain, the acquisition of Altera by Intel, and the world’s largest deployment of FPGAs in the datacenter by Microsoft, suggest that reconfigurable computing may finally fulfill its promise as a major technology for high performance computing.
For decades, this technology has been touted as a nimble and highly energy-efficient architecture for throughput computing. The ability of an FPGA to be reconfigured enables it to essentially become a soft ASIC optimized to run a specific workload. The thing that has held the technology back is programmability, which has until recently relied on low-level tools that were beyond the capabilities of the average application developer. Read more