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Acceleration of distance-to-default with hardware-software co-design

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4 Author(s)
Izaan Allugundu ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Nat. Univ. of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore ; Pranay Puranik ; Yat Piu Lo ; Akash Kumar

The role of Credit Rating Agencies has come under intense scrutiny in the recent past due to their failure to accurately rate the issuers of debt obligations and instruments. With growing uncertainty in the markets and the need for accurate results, credit rating algorithms are getting more and more complex by the day. Distance-to-default (DTD), or the leverage indicator, is one of the key indicators in credit research that determines the probabilities-of-default of firms. The greater the amount of historic data available for a given firm, the higher is the accuracy of the DTD results. However, this directly translates to a higher processing time and increases the costs of computation. The DTD computation features a linear workflow that is suited for implementation on a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which could lead to a more efficient and low-cost solution. Application of embedded platforms in implementing such algorithms have the potential to reduce the power consumption through parallelism and utilise an optimised solution offered by reconfigurable logic and customized hardware. In addition to the hardware solution, the right balance of software implementation can give the performance of such complex and intensive processes, an added boost. In this paper, we explore that very prospect of a hardware-software co-design and suitably implement a prototype of the DTD algorithm. The software in our design is partly run on a 2.9GHz Intel processor and the FPGA soft-core processor (Microblaze) which is implemented on a Xilinx Virtex-6 ML605 FPGA, accelerated by hardware coprocessors. This resulted in a 16.6× and 317.17× speedup in the computation of the implied asset value and the log-likelihood function respectively as compared to a pure software implementation on a 2.9GHz Intel processor.

Published in:

22nd International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL)

Date of Conference:

29-31 Aug. 2012