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Evaluating FPGAs for floating-point performance

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4 Author(s)
Strenski, D. ; Cray Inc., Seattle, WA ; Simkins, J. ; Walke, R. ; Wittig, Ralph

Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have been available for more than 25 years. Initially they were used to simplify embedded processing circuits and then expanded into simulating application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs. In the past few years they have grown in density and speed to replace ASICs in some applications and to assist microprocessors as attached accelerators. This paper will calculate the floating-point peak performance for three types of FPGAs using 64-bit, 32-bit, and 24-bit word lengths and compare this with a reference quad-core microprocessor. These calculations are further refined to estimate the actual performance of these FPGAs at floating-point calculations and compared with the microprocessor at its optimal design point and also away from this design point. Lastly, the paper explores the nature of floating-point calculations and looks at examples where the same algorithmic accuracy can be achieved with non-floating-point calculations.

Published in:

High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing Technology and Applications, 2008. HPRCTA 2008. Second International Workshop on

Date of Conference:

16-16 Nov. 2008