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Spatial processing of sparse, irregular, double-precision floating-point computation using a single field-programmable gate array (FPGA) enables up to an order of magnitude speedup (mean 2.8× speedup) over a conventional microprocessor for the SPICE circuit simulator. We develop a parallel, FPGA-based, heterogeneous architecture customized for accelerating the SPICE simulator to deliver this speedup. To properly parallelize the complete simulator, we decompose SPICE into its three constituent phases-model evaluation, sparse matrix-solve, and iteration control-and customize a spatial architecture for each phase independently. Our heterogeneous FPGA organization mixes very large instruction word, dataflow and streaming architectures into a cohesive, unified design to match the parallel patterns exposed by our programming framework. This FPGA architecture is able to outperform conventional processors due to a combination of factors, including high utilization of statically-scheduled resources, low-overhead dataflow scheduling of fine-grained tasks, and streaming, overlapped processing of the control algorithms. We demonstrate that we can independently accelerate model evaluation by a mean factor of 6.5 × (1.4-23×) across a range of nonlinear device models and matrix solve by 2.4×(0.6-13×) across various benchmark matrices while delivering a mean combined speedup of 2.8×(0.2-11×) for the composite design when comparing a Xilinx Virtex-6 LX760 (40 nm) with an Intel Core i7 965 (45 nm). We also estimate mean energy savings of 8.9× (up to 40.9×) when comparing a Xilinx Virtex-6 LX760 with an Intel Core i7 965.
Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:31 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2012