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Coprocessors Ride Again PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 00:00

One of the major threads running through this year’s SC conference is the idea that hybrid computing is becoming a mainstream technology. Convey Computer, founded in late 2006, has a different take on how to best implement hybrid architectures both to provide better performance and to simplify use. Their approach is to add an FPGA coprocessor that works in concert with the standard x86 processor, much like the old math coprocessors did back in the early days of personal computers. To make this work, they have come up with some extensions (called personalities) to the standard x86 instruction set that add instructions to allow use of the coprocessor. When code is compiled using the Convey compiler, the result is a unified set of code that utilizes the coprocessor to run the highly parallel processes. These Convey personalities are also customized to take into account the type of processing desired (single precision vector, financial vector, protein sequencing, etc.)

When roaming the show floor, we cornered a Convey booth attendant and got him to give us a quick interview and an overview of their newest product…

 

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