Accelerator-level Parallelism

Date & Time: 15/10/2020, 6:30 pm

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Computer system performance has improved due to creatively using more transistors (Moore’s Law) in parallel via bit-, instruction-, thread-, and data-level parallelism. With the slowing of technology scaling, a way to further improve computer system performance under energy constraints is to employ hardware accelerators. Each accelerator is a hardware component that executes a targeted computation class faster and usually with (much) less energy. Already today, many chips in mobile, edge and cloud computing concurrently employ multiple accelerators in what we call accelerator-level parallelism (ALP).
This talk develops our hypothesis that ALP will spread to computer systems more broadly. ALP is a promising way to dramatically improve power-performance to enable broad, future use of deep Al, virtual reality, self-driving cars, etc. To this end, we review past parallelism levels and the ALP already present in mobile systems on a chip (SoCs). We then aid understanding of ALP with the Gables model and charge computer science researchers to develop better ALP “best practices”for: targeting accelerators, managing accelerator concurrency, choreographing inter-accelerator communication, and productively programming accelerators. This joint work with Vijay Janapa Reddi of Harvard. See also:

Author Bio
Mark D. Hill (–markhill) is Gene M. Amdahl and John P. Morgridge Professor Emeritus in Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has long also held a courtesy appointment in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His work targets computers with complex memory systems, multiple processing cores, and systems which do not yet exist so they have to be simulated. Over three decades, he has collaborated with over 160 co-authors, has over 40 patents, and has held several visiting positions in the computer industry, most recently as a 2018 Google Intern. He serves as Chair Emeritus of a national computing think tank–the Computing Community Consortium–and he was Wisconsin Computer Sciences Department Chair 2014-2017. Mark won the highest award in computer hardware–Eckert-Mauchly—in 2019. Mark is a fellow of ACM and IEEE, and has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

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