Accelerating Astronomical Applications 2

FPGAs are processors that work very differently from CPUs that we are used to in normal computers. CPUs execute instructions (software) to perform a certain task; the hardware is fixed but the software offers a high degree of flexibility to perform all kinds of tasks.

In FPGAs, the hardware is still "malleable": in order to perform a certain task, all kinds of pieces of hardware on the FPGA are tied together in such a way that together they form a pipeline where input data enters and processed data comes out. The big advantage over regular CPUs is that they are much more energy efficient, the disadvantage is that they are less flexible and much more difficult to program.

New FPGA technologies are at the basis of this project. A high-level programming language (OpenCL), hardware support for floating point numbers and close integration with CPUs not only make it possible to program FPGA's much easier than before, it will also be possible to use them for much more complex applications than was previously possible. Intel wants to use this OpenCL/FPGA solution in data centers and for the IoT. In this project we will develop a number of (radio-astronomical) applications for FPGAs.

The goals of this project are:

* to master, evaluate and compare these technologies with other technologies (e.g. GPUs) in terms of performance, energy efficiency and programming effort;

* to introduce these technologies into radio astronomy so that future projects can benefit from reduced programming effort and high energy efficiency.

This call is closed

The projects have been awarded, at the bottom of this page the current projects.

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