27.02.2015: InvasIC-Seminar “Accelerating Data Processing Using FPGAs”

Prof. Dr. Jens Teubner (TU Dortmund) gave the guest lecture “Accelerating Data Processing Using FPGAs” on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 10:00 am in the context of the InvasIC lecture series.

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have reached a complexity (in terms of available logic and memory resources) that makes them attractive to complement or even replace traditional processors. But it remains unclear, how the flexibility of programmable hardware can best be utilized to accelerate typical data processing tasks. The chip’s configuration could be re-loaded for every application, every workload, every task, etc. But the high costs of reconfiguration demand a trade-off between flexibility/expressiveness, reconfiguration cost, and runtime performance.
In the talk I will give an answer to the trade-off question for two realistic scenarios from the database domain. First, I will demonstrate how our “skeleton automata” design technique results in a high expressiveness for an XML processing workload—without any concessions on reconfiguration or runtime speed. In my second part, I will give an overview of “Ibex”, which is an FPGA-based storage back-end for the MySQL database. With “Ibex”, a meaningful set of query (sub-)tasks can be pushed down to the system’s storage layer, resulting in significant performance and energy advantages.
Parts of this work have been done in collaboration with Louis Woods from ETH Zurich (now with Oracle Labs).