HeteroCL: A Multi-Paradigm Programming Infrastructure for Software-Defined Reconfigurable Computing


With the pursuit of improving compute performance under strict power constraints, there is an increasing need for deploying applications to heterogeneous hardware architectures with accelerators, such as GPUs and FPGAs. However, although these heterogeneous computing platforms are becoming widely available, they are very difficult to program especially with FPGAs. As a result, the use of such platforms has been limited to a small subset of programmers with specialized hardware knowledge. To tackle this challenge, we introduce HeteroCL, a programming infrastructure composed of a Python-based domain-specific language (DSL) and an FPGA-targeted compilation flow. The HeteroCL DSL provides a clean programming abstraction that decouples algorithm specification from three important types of hardware customization in compute, data types, and memory architectures. HeteroCL further captures the interdependence among these different customization techniques, allowing programmers to explore various performance/area/accuracy trade-offs in a systematic and productive manner. In addition, our framework produces highly efficient hardware implementations for a variety of popular workloads by targeting spatial architecture templates such as systolic arrays and stencil with dataflow architectures. Experimental results show that HeteroCL allows programmers to explore the design space efficiently in both performance and accuracy by combining different types of hardware customization and targeting spatial architectures, while keeping the algorithm code intact.

In International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), ACM. (Best Paper Award)