Xilinx-powered reconfigurable computing platform sets new performance recordIn a recent benchmark, a Reconfigurable Application Specific Computing (RASC)-enabled SGI Altix system from Silicon Graphics (SGI) featuring Virtex-4 high performance FPGAs from Xilinx accelerated the Blast-n (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool for nucleotides) bioinformatics application by more than 900 times compared to a traditional cluster.
The benchmark test ran a standard Blast-n query to match 25 nucleotide base pairs against 600,000 queries. This application required approximately 3 weeks to complete on a 68-node AMD Opteron cluster compared to less than 33 minutes for the Virtex-4 FPGA accelerated SGI RASC platform: a total speed improvement of more than 900 times.
The product used to set the Blast-n performance record was an SGI Altix 4700 system configured as a turn-key bioinformatics appliance with 64 Intel Itanium 2 processors and 35 RC100 RASC blades. The completed system fits into a single rack and runs a Mitrionics developed Blast-n engine to transparently accelerate a customer's Blast-n applications using the RC100 RASC blades.
Each RC100 is tightly integrated into SGI NUMAflex architecture and features two Xilinx Virtex-4 LX200 FPGAs and 10 banks of local scratchpad memory, providing a total of 70 FPGAs and 840 GB per second of local memory bandwidth in the benchmarked configuration.
Now in its 4th generation, Xilinx-enabled RASC technology can scale performance across a broad range of data intensive algorithms such as those used in Blast-n, the world's most widely used bioinformatics application. Additional applications appropriate for RASC acceleration include oil and gas exploration, defense and intelligence, financial analytics, medical imaging and broadcast media encoding.
Interfacing to the Inter Front-Side Bus (FSB)
In a Recent Announcement, Xilinx began commercial licensing of the high-performance computing (HPC) industry's first FPGA-based acceleration solution to interface with the Intel Front Side Bus (FSB).
Based on 65 nm Virtex-5 platform FPGAs and Intel QuickAssist Technology, the ACP M1 licensing package supports implementations capable of full 1066 MHz FSB performance. The ACP M1 licensing package is available today to system integrators for developing solutions that accelerate the performance of Intel processor-based server platforms while minimizing power consumption and total cost of ownership.
Customers and partners who wish to learn more about Xilinx in accelerated computing can contact ACP@Xilinx.com.
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