Distributed Heterogeneous Computing and the Role of FPGAs

Associate Professor Suhaib Fahmy
School of Engineering
University of Warwick

Chaired by
Dr HE Bingsheng, Associate Professor, School of Computing

  18 Apr 2018 Wednesday, 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM



The cloud has driven a surge in innovative applications across a range of domains by enabling access to effectively limitless compute resources decoupled from front-end programming and physical access. As data densities grow, and the complexity of compute requirements scales, there has been widespread acknowledgement that a one size fits all approach is untenable. As a result, there have been significant efforts in incorporating heterogeneous computing platforms into the datacenter to address energy and performance challenges. With more distributed applications moving data to the cloud for processing, there is also growing demand on the networks, and this is limiting scalability. As a result, there is growing interest in rebalancing this concerted centralisation through computing at the "edge" - between the datacenter and the data sources. This infrastructure cannot be as cumbersome as a datacenter, and so alternative system architectures must be explored. FPGAs offer high throughput connectivity tightly coupled with high performance custom logic, potentially allowing compute with lower latency and power overheads compared to their use in traditional accelerator contexts. This talk will discuss these challenges and present a model for reasoning about distributed computing in the network, before proposing potential research topics in this fast moving area.


Suhaib Fahmy leads the Connected Systems Research Group in the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick and is a Turing Fellow with The Alan Turing Institute. He graduated with MEng and PhD degrees from Imperial College London in 2003 and 2008, respectively, followed by time with Trinity College Dublin and Xilinx Research Labs, and 6 years with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research explores the use of reconfigurable systems in domains including heterogeneous compute acceleration, communications, cyber-physical systems, and automotive networks. Dr Fahmy received the Best Paper Award at FPT 2012, the IBM Faculty Award in 2013 and 2017, and the Community Award at FPL 2016. He serves on the technical program committees for a number of prestigious conferences in the area of reconfigurable computing, actively reviews for many journals in related areas, and sits on the ACM Technical Committee on FPGAs.