OpenCL platform for high-performance FPGA accelerator promotes AI Infusion

To simplify infusion of artificial intelligence (AI) into high-performance computing Arrow Electronics has launched a software platform ready to run on the BittWare 385A FPGA accelerator card.

The ready-to-use software modules in OpenCL help users build custom engines for compute-intensive workloads in applications such as image processing and facial recognition.

As a standardised, open environment for parallel programming of heterogenous computing systems, which specifies standard programming languages and contains APIs, the company states that OpenCL ensures users can complete their projects quickly using familiar techniques. Arrow’s new AI platform includes a compiler, which lets customers create their own applications if desired.

The modules are provided preloaded on the accelerator card and currently include vector addition, FFT and 2-dimensional FFT, edge detection, file transcoding, face detection, and Sobel edge detection. The Arrow team continues to create new functions to extend support and accelerate adoption. It is also in the process of integrating popular AI frameworks including Caffe and TensorFlow, leveraging OpenCL, to further assist convenient and efficient AI infusion.

The BittWare 385A contains the Intel Arria 10 1150 GX FPGA, connected to the host via PCIe Gen 3 x8 and directly to two 40Gb Ethernet QSFP+ optical interfaces for off-board communication. Architected for high throughput, the card contains two banks of 4-16GB DDR3 capable of up to 2133 MTransfer/s. The Arria 10 GX provides heterogeneous acceleration, combining hard floating-point DSP blocks with programmable logic fabric.

The accelerator card comes with all demos loaded and supported by BittWare’s OpenCL HPC Board Support Package and Intel FPGA OpenCL SDK to assist development. With Camera RealSense also loaded, it is ready to use out of the box.

“BittWare is excited to be playing an active role in Arrow’s Testdrive program which is helping to grow the market for FPGA-based acceleration,” said Craig Petrie, vice-president of marketing for BittWare. “Our optimised BSPs for the Intel OpenCL SDK provides a familiar programming experience for software-orientated customers wishing to benefit from the performance improvements and energy-efficiencies achievable using Intel FPGA technology.”

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