FPGA-based acceleration on IBM Power Systems with OpenCL

November 19, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Altera has announced that the latest release of the its software development kit SDK for OpenCL supports IBM Power Systems servers as an OpenCL system host. This, Altera says, strengthens its FPGA-based heterogeneous computing offering, which also includes support for all other major architectures.

Users are now able to develop OpenCL code that targets IBM Power Systems CPUs and accelerator boards with Altera FPGAs as a high-performance compute solution. FPGA users can see a 5-20X performance boost over standard CPU based servers for many applications.

Additionally, Altera announced its full support of the OpenPOWER Consortium, an open development alliance that makes the IBM POWER microprocessor available under licence to other companies for open collaboration and development. Altera intends to join the Consortium formally as soon as the governing documentation process is complete and membership opens.

OpenCL supports a wide range of applications, from embedded and consumer software to high-performance computing solutions, through a high-performance, portable abstraction. By creating an efficient, programmer-friendly interface, OpenCL forms the foundation layer of a parallel computing ecosystem of platform independent tools, middleware and applications. It also greatly improves speed and responsiveness for a wide spectrum of applications in numerous market categories from gaming and entertainment to scientific and medical software. Providing FPGA-based system acceleration with the Altera SDK for OpenCL provides system designers an attractive performance per watt solution when constrained by power and cooling requirements.

The Altera SDK for OpenCL provides an industry-standard open source programming interface; several FPGA board partners provide off-the-shelf boards that are optimised for Altera devices.

The Altera SDK for OpenCL is currently available for download on Altera’s website or through the purchase of an Altera Preferred Partner OpenCL board. The annual software subscription for the SDK for OpenCL is $995.

Altera; www.altera.com