Processors

The Potential for a GPU-Like Overlay Architecture for FPGAs

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Executive Summary

The authors propose a soft processor programming model and architecture inspired by Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) that are well-matched to the strengths of FPGAs, namely, highly parallel and pipelinable computation. In particular, their soft processor architecture exploits multi-threading, vector operations, and predication to supply a floating-point pipeline of 64 stages via hardware support for up to 256 concurrent thread contexts. The key new contributions of their architecture are mechanisms for managing threads and register files that maximize data-level and instruction-level parallelism while overcoming the challenges of port limitations of FPGA block memories as well as memory and pipeline latency.

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