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RACOS: Transparent access and virtualization of reconfigurable hardware accelerators

Vatsolakis Charalabos, Pnevmatikatos Dionysios

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Year 2018
Type of Item Conference Full Paper
Bibliographic Citation C. Vatsolakis and D. Pnevmatikatos, "RACOS: Transparent access and virtualization of reconfigurable hardware accelerators," in 17th International Conference on Embedded Computer Systems: Architectures, Modeling, and Simulation, 2018, pp. 11-19. doi: 10.1109/SAMOS.2017.8344606
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Crafting accelerators using reconfigurable hardware is a promising way to achieve improved performance and power/energy efficiency. However, deploying reconfigurable accelerators is still cumbersome as it involves overall system integration issues and and runtime reconfigurable resource management. We describe the design and implementation of RACOS, a Reconfigurable ACcelerator OS, that provides a simple and intuitive software interface to load/unload reconfigurable hardware accelerators and perform data I/Os transparently to the user. Multiple partially reconfigurable regions are supported, and each region can host either single- or dual-threaded accelerators, effectively virtualizing the reconfigurable resources. RACOS allows multiple applications to use one or more accelerators each, and schedules accelerators for execution according to four policies: simple and inorder that respect the order of request, and out of order and forced that aim to reduce the number of reconfigurations. We evaluate our proposed system varying the number of instances of an accelerated application and show that, despite its generality, RACOS can achieve both high reconfiguration and data communication throughput, close to the maximum reported in bibliography, with a very small resource cost comparable or better than the current state of the art.