FPGA Technology at Crossroads

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have been undergoing rapid and dramatic changes fueled by their expanding use in datacenter computing. Rather than serving as a compromise or alternative to ASICs, FPGA ‘programmable logic’ is emerging as a third paradigm of compute that stands apart from traditional hardware vs. software archetypes. A multi-university, multi-disciplinary team has been formed behind the question:

What should be the future role of FPGAs as a central function in datacenter servers?

Guided by both the demands of modern networked, data-centric computing and the new capabilities from 3D integration, the Intel/VMware Crossroads 3D-FPGA Academic Research Center will investigate a new programmable hardware data-nexus lying at the heart of the server and operating over data ‘on the move’ between network, traditional compute, and storage elements.

The Intel/VMware Crossroads 3D-FPGA Academic Research Center is jointly supported by Intel and VMware. The center is committed to public and free dissemination of its research outcome.

You can find an overview presentation on the center’s YouTube channel. Please contact any of the Crossroads PIs in your research area if you have any questions or interest.


Latest News

August 27th, 2021 | The center’s PIs and students, along with invited external attendees including Intel, VMware and our research collaborators, got together to exchange progress and discuss findings. (Agenda with presentation abstracts) The student workshop is a bi-annual event for the center.

August 27th, 2021 | The center’s PIs and students, along with invited external attendees including Intel, VMware and our research collaborators, got together to exchange progress and discuss findings. (Agenda with presentation abstracts) The student workshop is a bi-annual event for the center. (Read Less)


July 28th, 2021 | Crossroads student Joseph Melber successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Fluid: Raising the Level of Abstraction for FPGA Accelerator Development Without Compromising Performance.” An important artifact from Melber’s thesis is the Fluid IP composition framework. Fluid stipulates an abstracted interface architecture to facilitate the authoring of highly reusable accelerator component IPs … read more

July 28th, 2021 | Crossroads student Joseph Melber successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Fluid: Raising the Level of Abstraction for FPGA Accelerator Development Without Compromising Performance.” An important artifact from Melber’s thesis is the Fluid IP composition framework. Fluid stipulates an abstracted interface architecture to facilitate the authoring of highly reusable accelerator component IPs for an NoC-enabled FPGA fabric. Furthermore, Fluid provides a high-level description framework for designers to author expressive and maintainable descriptions of the infrastructural context enclosing the accelerator component composition. Pigasus 2.0 will adopted the Fluid framework to support flexible composition of parameterized component stages and virtualization of platform and communication. (Read Less)


July 8th, 2021 | Crossroads student Zhipeng Zhao successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Pigasus: Efficient Handling of Input-Dependent Streaming on FPGAs.” In this thesis, Zhao exploits FPGAs’ programmability in an innovative design style that optimizes for traffic-dependent common-case behavior while relegating rare—often more complicated—behaviors to low-cost slow-path handling. The thesis … read more

July 8th, 2021 | Crossroads student Zhipeng Zhao successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Pigasus: Efficient Handling of Input-Dependent Streaming on FPGAs.” In this thesis, Zhao exploits FPGAs’ programmability in an innovative design style that optimizes for traffic-dependent common-case behavior while relegating rare—often more complicated—behaviors to low-cost slow-path handling. The thesis investigates both compile-time and runtime re-adaptation to expected and experienced traffic profile. An important artifact from Zhao’s thesis is the Pigasus IDS/IPS. Besides being a major application focus of Crossroads RV1, it has also emerged as an important design driver for all remaining RVs. The Pigasus team is launching a monthly Users Group Meeting to coordinate future developments of the Pigasus IPS/IDS. (Read Less)


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Recent Publications

  • End-to-End FPGA-based Object Detection Using Pipelined CNN and Non-Maximum Suppression [abstract]

    A. Na, M. Ibrahim, M. Hall, A. Boutros, A. Mohanty, E. Nurvitadhi, V. Betz, Y. Cao & J. Seo. (2021). End-to-End FPGA-based Object Detection Using Pipelined CNN and Non-Maximum Suppression. In Proceedings of the Int. Conf on Field Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL). [bibtex]

    Abstract:
    Object detection is an important computer vision task, with many applications in autonomous driving, smart surveillance, robotics, and other domains. Single-shot detectors (SSD) coupled with a convolutional neural network (CNN) for feature extraction can efficiently detect, classify and localize various objects in an input image with very high accuracy. In such systems, the convolution layers extract features and predict the bounding box locations for the detected objects as well as their confidence scores. Then, a non-maximum suppression (NMS) algorithm eliminates partially overlapping boxes and selects the bounding box with the highest score per class. However, these two components are strictly sequential; a conventional NMS algorithm needs to wait for all box predictions to be produced before processing them. This prohibits any overlap between the execution of the convolutional layers and NMS, resulting in significant latency overhead and throughput degradation. In this paper, we present a novel NMS algorithm that alleviates this bottleneck and enables a fully-pipelined hardware implementation. We also implement an end-to-end system for low-latency SSD-MobileNet-V1 object detection, which combines a state-of-the-art deeply-pipelined CNN accelerator with a custom hardware implementation of our novel NMS algorithm. As a result of our new algorithm, the NMS module adds a minimal latency overhead of only 0.13 microseconds to the SSD-MobileNet-V1 convolution layers. Our end-to-end object detection system implemented on an Intel Stratix 10 FPGA runs at a maximum operating frequency of 350 MHz, with a throughput of 609 frames-per-second and an end-to-end batch-1 latency of 2.4 ms. Our system achieves 1.5x higher throughput and 4.4x lower latency compared to the current state-of-the-art SSD-based object detection systems on FPGAs.
    BibTeX:
    @inproceedings{hpipe-nms-fpl21,
    author = {Na, A. and Ibrahim, M. and Hall, M. and Boutros, A. and Mohanty, A. and Nurvitadhi, E. and Betz, V. and Cao, Y. and Seo, J.},
    title = {End-to-End FPGA-based Object Detection Using Pipelined CNN and Non-Maximum Suppression},
    year = {2021},
    isbn = {},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on Field-Programmable Logic and Applications},
    pages = {1–8,
    numpages = {8},
    month = aug
    }
    
  • We Need Kernel Interposition over the Network Dataplane [abstract] [paper]

    Sadok, H., Zhao, Z., Choung, V., Atre, N., Berger, D. S., Hoe, J. C., Panda, A., & Sherry, J. (2021). We Need Kernel Interposition over the Network Dataplane. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems. Ann Arbor, MI, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA. [bibtex]

    Abstract:
    Kernel-bypass networking, which allows applications to circumvent the kernel and interface directly with NIC hardware, is one of the main tools for improving application network performance. However, allowing applications to circumvent the kernel makes it impossible to use tools (e.g., tcpdump) or impose policies (e.g., QoS and filters) that need to interpose on traffic sent by different applications running on a host. This makes maintainability and manageability a challenge for kernel-bypass applications. In response, we propose Kernel On-Path Interposition (KOPI), in which traditional kernel dataplane functionality is retained but implemented in a fully programmable SmartNIC. We hypothesize that KOPI can support the same tools and policies as the kernel stack while retaining the performance benefits of kernel bypass.
    BibTeX:
    @inproceedings{Sadok2021,
    author = {Sadok, Hugo and Zhao, Zhipeng and Choung, Valerie and Atre, Nirav and Berger, Daniel S. and Hoe, James C. and Panda, Aurojit and Sherry, Justine},
    title = {We Need Kernel Interposition over the Network Dataplane},
    year = {2021},
    isbn = {},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems},
    pages = {1–6},
    numpages = {6},
    month = jun,
    series = {{HotOS}~'21}
    }
    
  • Achieving 100Gbps Intrusion Prevention on a Single Server [abstract] [paper] [slides] [video] [code]

    Zhao, Z., Sadok, H., Atre, N., Hoe, J., Sekar, V., & Sherry, J. (2020). Achieving 100Gbps Intrusion Prevention on a Single Server. In Proceedings of the 14th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI). Berkeley, CA, USA: USENIX Association. [bibtex]

    Abstract:
    Pigasus is an 100Gbps Intrusion Detection and Prevention System that can inspect network traffic by checking against 10K+ rules with the support of 100K+ concurrent connections. Pigasus is implemented on a single server using one FPGA-based SmartNIC with a few CPU cores, saving hundreds of cores compared with CPU-only approach. The Github repository contains the FPGA RTL code, CPU full matcher code and scripts for RTL simulation, synthesis build and hardware onboard test.
    BibTeX:
    @inproceedings {258923,
    author = {Zhipeng Zhao and Hugo Sadok and Nirav Atre and James C. Hoe and Vyas Sekar and Justine Sherry},
    title = {Achieving 100Gbps Intrusion Prevention on a Single Server},
    booktitle = {14th {USENIX} Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation ({OSDI} 20)},
    year = {2020},
    isbn = {978-1-939133-19-9},
    pages = {1083--1100},
    url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/osdi20/presentation/zhao-zhipeng},
    publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
    month = nov,
    }
    

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