Computing Faster without CPUs - Engineering Applications on NASA's FPGA-based Hypercomputers
from Manchester UK talk:
The purpose of this presentation is to describe how NASA Langley's reconfigurable Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based hypercomputer research is addressing the solution of comprehensive engineering and scientific calculations. Two approaches are used to exploit Langley's Star Bridge Hypercomputer Systems for analysis calculations:
1. Develop Hypercomputer analyses codes in VIVA (fully exploits parallelism)
2. Use Hyercomputer to accelerate time-consuming (bottleneck) calculations
Since NASA C++/FORTRAN legacy codes do not exploit all of the FPGA parallelism possible (hundreds of operations/cycle, the algorithms were entirely written in the VIVA language using the first approach. However, the second approach was used for a large legacy code where over 95% of the finite element equation solution computations are concentrated in a two-page FORTRAN kernel. This matrix-factor kernel was replaced by VIVA "gateware" to exploit FPGA parallelism. This VIVA kernel development involves researchers at Alpha-Star Corporation (GENOA structures code, Starbridge Systems (VIVA developers), and NASA (developed GPS Solver used in GENOA).
NASA FPGA-based research initially focused on rapid structural analysis, but has now been extended to include linear algebra, matrix equation solution and integration (Runge-Kutta for fluid dynamics and Newmark-Beta for finite element structural mechanics). This research has led to NASA's new $15M, 4-year Reconfigurable Scalable Computer(RSC) project for Space applications which will be briefly described.