IBM continues to cozy up to field programmable gate array (FPGA) vendors, announcing a new deal with Altera Corp. to provide an acceleration platform that connects an FPGA to the system company’s POWER8 CPU.
Earlier this year, IBM and Xilinx teamed to develop high-performance compute solutions based on Xilinx FPGAs and IBM’s POWER CPUs. Now, using Altera’s devices, the duo is developing highly flexible compute offerings to bring new levels of performance and efficiency through FPGA-accelerated POWER8 systems.
The platform will be used in next-generation high-performance computing (HPC) and data center applications such as data compression, encryption, image processing and search. The platform will use IBM’s Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) to attach the FPGA accelerators to the fabric of the POWER8 processors and main system memory making it appear as if the Altera device is another core on the CPU. According to the companies, this will result in shortened development time by reducing the lines of software code and reduced processor cycles. Altera claims that engineers can cut their data center footprint in half by using this combination platform.
Brad McCredie, VP of IBM Power development and OpenPower President, said in a statement that software developers can build highly efficient, highly flexible, performance optimized systems because of the work “Altera has done to provide FPGA-based reconfigurable hardware acceleration to our POWER processors.”
As computing applications evolve, the need to “build in flexible accelerators” to IBM’s CPUs in IBM POWER systems and all OpenPower compatible systems is a must, McCredie added.
Both companies are working with Nallatech to develop a OpenPower CAPI development kit for POWER8 that includes what they claim is the first CAPI FPGA accelerator card.