ITTC Project


Project Summary: Reconfigurable Computing Cluster

Project Award Date: 03-10-2006



Description

Petascale computing will have far-reaching impacts on science, humanity, and industry. However, to be a viable solution, the system must be cost-effective. Although commodity clusters are becoming ubiquitous and are extremely cost-effective, several challenges will impede their ability to scale up to the PetaFLOP range. Certainly, total system cost is a barrier. But physical infrastructure (e.g., power, cooling, mass, and sheer size) will also present significant challenges.

Reconfigurable Computing (RC)--an increasingly mainstream technology--offers an interesting alternative that can address these issues. Based on the Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), RC allows custom computing architectures to be realized on an individual application basis. Specialization, parallelism, and very large on-chip bandwidth are advantages that give FPGA-based solutions high performance in small physical packages.

This project proposes to acquire a 64-node experimental Reconfigurable Computing Cluster to support on-going research projects investigating High-Performance Computing and FPGAs across three universities. Built from off-the-shelf components (plus an inexpensive custom network adapter) and integrated by an experienced industrial partner, TeamHPC, the requested cluster would enable new research that is a natural out-growth of these established research programs.

Researchers will evaluate two novel aspects of the proposed architecture: (a) using FPGAs as the primary processor on the node and (b) integrating the network switching components into the configurable resources of the FPGA. If these enhancements prove valuable, this is a significant step towards cost-effective petascale clusters.

Project is in collaboration with Clemson University and Arizona State University


Investigators

Faculty Investigator(s): Ronald Sass (PI), David Andrews, Xue-wen Chen


Project Sponsors


Primary Sponsor(s): NSF


Partner with ITTC

The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

Licensing and Royalty/Equity Agreement

An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

Commercialization Development

Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

ITTC Resource Access

ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

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