[Beowulf] Pricing and Trading Networks: Down is Up, Left is Right

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sat Feb 18 14:17:53 PST 2012

On 2/18/12 9:02 AM, "Joe Landman" <landman at scalableinformatics.com> wrote:
>FPGAs are very good at some subset of problems, but they are extremely
>hard to 'program'.  Unless you get one of the "compilers" which use a
>virtual CPU of some sort to execute the code ... in which case you are
>giving up a majority of your usable performance anyway.  And if someone
>from Convey or Mitrionics v2 wants to jump in and call BS (and even
>better, say something interesting on how you can avoid giving up the
>performance), I'd love to see/hear this.  FPGAs have become something of
>a "red headed stepchild" of accelerators.  The tasks they are good for,
>they are very good for.  But getting near optimal performance is hard
>(based upon my past experience/knowledge ... more than 1 year old), and
>usually violates the "minimize time to market" criterion.
>If you have a problem which will change infrequently, and doesn't
>involve too much DP floating point, and lots of integer ops ... FPGAs
>might be a great fit technologically, though the other aspects have to
>be taken into account.

Reprogrammable FPGAs (tiny ones) were available in the mid 80s, so you
could say that they're about 25 years old now.  Compare that to more
conventional computers, say, mid 40s..   Think about how mature compilers
and such were in 1965, especially in terms of optimizers, etc.  And think
about how many software developers there were back then (in comparison to
the general technical professional population).

FPGAs will get there. (of course, conventional CPUs are always going to be

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