GPUs for real-time processing in HEP trigger systems

R. Ammendola, A. Biagioni, L. Deri, M. Fiorini, O. Frezza, G. Lamanna, F. Lo Cicero, A. Lonardo, A. Messina, M. Sozzi, F. Pantaleo, P.S. Paolucci, D. Rossetti, F. Simula, L. Tosoratto, P. Vicini
GAP Collaboration
The 15th International Workshop on Advanced Computing and Analysis Techniques in Physics Research (ACAT’13), 2013

   title={GPUs for real-time processing in HEP trigger systems},

   author={Collaboration, GAP and Ammendola, R and Biagioni, A and Deri, L and Fiorini, M and Frezza, O and Lamanna, G and Cicero, F Lo and Lonardo, A and Messina, A and others},



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We describe a pilot project (GAP – GPU Application Project) for the use of GPUs (Graphics processing units) in online triggering applications for High Energy Physics experiments. Two major trends can be identified in the development of trigger and DAQ systems for particle physics experiments: the massive use of general-purpose commodity systems such as commercial multicore PC farms for data acquisition, and the reduction of trigger levels implemented in hardware, moving towards a fully software data selection system ("triggerless"). The innovative approach presented here aims at exploiting the parallel computing power of commercial GPUs to perform fast computations in software not only in high level trigger levels but also in early trigger stages. General-purpose computing on GPUs is emerging as a new paradigm in several fields of science, although so far applications have been tailored to the specific strengths of such devices as accelerators in offline computation. With the steady reduction of GPU latencies, and the increase in link and memory throughputs, the use of such devices for real-time applications in high-energy physics data acquisition and trigger systems is becoming ripe. We discuss in detail the use of online parallel computing on GPUs for synchronous low-level triggers with fixed latency. In particular we show the preliminary results on a first field test in the CERN NA62 experiment. The use of GPUs in high level triggers is also considered, the CERN ATLAS experiment being taken as a case study of possible applications.
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