The ‘Chimera’: an off-the-shelf CPU/GPGPU/FPGA hybrid computing platform

Ra Inta, David J. Bowman, Susan M. Scott
The Australian National University
International Journal of Reconfigurable Computing, 2012


   title={The ‘Chimera’: an off-the-shelf CPU/GPGPU/FPGA hybrid computing platform},

   author={Inta, Ra and Bowman, David J. and Scott, Susan M.},



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The nature of modern astronomy means that a number of interesting problems exhibit a substantial computational bound and this situation is gradually worsening. Scientists, increasingly fighting for valuable resources on conventional high performance computing (HPC) facilities-often with a limited customizable user environment-are increasingly looking to hardware acceleration solutions. We describe here a heterogeneous CPU/GPGPU/FPGA desktop computing system (the ‘Chimera’), built with commercial-off-the-shelf components. We show that this platform may be a viable alternative solution to many common computationally bound problems found in astronomy, however not without significant challenges. The most significant bottleneck in pipelines involving real data is most likely to be the interconnect (in this case the PCI Express bus residing on the CPU motherboard). Finally we speculate on the merits of our Chimera system on the entire landscape of parallel computing, through the analysis of representative problems from UC Berkeley’s ‘Thirteen Dwarves’.
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