DATE: Thursday, July 8, 2004
TIME: Noon - 1 pm
PLACE: Hamerschlag Hall D-210

Mihai Budiu

Spatial Computation

In this talk I explore the strengths and weaknesses of Spatial Computation (SC), a method of translating programs into hardware by assigning to each program instruction a dedicated hardware implementation. SC synthesizes circuits with ample parallelism, using only local communication. SC addresses many of the limitations of contemporary high-performance processor architectures: limited ability to exploit parallelism, reliance on slow global communication signals, design complexity, inflexibility of the instruction-set architecture, low energy efficiency, high power consumption.

This talk will describe a specific instance of SC, called Application-Specific Hardware (ASH). Program transformations developed for ASH have broad applicability in the realms of traditional compilation, high-level synthesis and asynchronous circuits. This talk will focus on CASH: a compiler for ASH, which translates ANSI C programs into asynchronous hardware circuits. Circuits generated by CASH from dusty-deck C multimedia kernels compare favorably in performance with high-end superscalar microprocessors, while being up to three orders of magnitude more efficient in terms of energy and energy-delay.

Mihai Budiu is currently a postdoc in the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University. He has received his Ph.D. from CMU in December 2003 with a dissertation on "Spatial Computation". His
research is at the intersection of optimizing compilers, computer architecture, reconfigurable hardware and high-level synthesis. His research explores the implications of deep sub-micron and self-assembled electronic nanotechnology for building future computer architectures. Mihai was previously a member of the CMU PipeRench virtualizable reconfigurable hardware project: Mihai wrote the PipeRench compiler tools, which subsumed a complete CAD tool-chain.

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