Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The rise of Domain Specific Accelerators

Two recent articles indicate a certain pick up of Domain-specific Accelerators adoption. With the end of Moore's Law, domain-specific hardware solution remains one of the few paths to continuing to increase the performance and efficiency of computing hardware.

For a long time, domain-specific Accelerators adoption was limited by economics factors. Historically, the small feature sizes, small batch sizes, and high cost of fab time (for ASICs) translated in a prohibitive per unit cost.
However, economic factors have shifted :

  • move toward standardised opensource tooling,
  • more flexible licensing model,
  • RISC-V architecture coming of age and maturing rapidly
  • Fab cost dropping
  • Wide availability of FPGA (AWS F1)
  • Rise of co-designed high-level programming language reducing the learning curve and design cycle.
  • power/performance wall of general-purpose compute unit

We are about to see a dramatic shift toward heterogeneous compute infrastructure over the next couples of years.

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