Exploring alternate computer architectures
The FAbRIC (FPGA Research Infrastructure Cloud) project acquires and maintain comprehensive testbed systems and their tools for open use by all researchers wishing to explore the power of reconfigurable hardware. Reconfigurable hardware has tremendous potential in terms of performance and power efficiency. However, the high cost of such systems, the high cost of the tools needed to program such systems, and need to program at a very low level together put such systems out of reach of most researchers. The default usage model for Fabric is "open source to play", which enables anyone who agrees to let the team publish their open source code to use the facility free of charge. Such a shared platform with industrial-strength tools and open sourced code finally enables true reproducibility of research results and the ability to leverage others' work.
The original Fabric uses Convey FPGA platforms, and a new platform has just been added combining IBM's latest Power 8 processors with NVIDIA GPUs, and FPGAs from Altera and Xilinx, for researchers exploring alternate computer architectures. Supported by grants from IBM and NSF.
If you wish to use Fabric, see the getting started document and usage policies at www.openfabric.org
Nine IBM Power8 S824L nodes
Each Power8 nodes has the following:
- Two 10-core 3.42 GHz POWER8 processor cards
- 256GB memory
- One NVidia K40m GPU
- One Alpha Data CAPI accelerator using a Xilinx FPGA
- One Nallatech CAPI accelerator using a Altera FPGA