State-of-the-art in heterogeneous computing

Andre R. Brodtkorb, Christopher Dyken, Trond R. Hagen, Jon M. Hjelmervik, Olaf O. Storaasli
SINTEF ICT, Department of Applied Mathematics, Blindern, Oslo, Norway
Scientific Programming, Vol. 18, No. 1. (1 January 2010), pp. 1-33


   title={State-of-the-art in heterogeneous computing},

   author={Brodtkorb, A.R. and Dyken, C. and Hagen, T.R. and Hjelmervik, J.M. and Storaasli, O.O.},

   journal={Scientific Programming},






   publisher={IOS Press}


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Node level heterogeneous architectures have become attractive during the last decade for several reasons: compared to traditional symmetric CPUs, they offer high peak performance and are energy and/or cost efficient. With the increase of fine-grained parallelism in high-performance computing, as well as the introduction of parallelism in workstations, there is an acute need for a good overview and understanding of these architectures. We give an overview of the state-of-the-art in heterogeneous computing, focusing on three commonly found architectures: the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture, graphics processing units (GPUs), and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). We present a review of hardware, available software tools, and an overview of state-of-the-art techniques and algorithms. Furthermore, we present a qualitative and quantitative comparison of the architectures, and give our view on the future of heterogeneous computing.
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