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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

EECS Pioneers Innovations in the Teaching of High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing

Published on May 4th, 2016 by Victor Frost

The shift to cloud computing has greatly increased the importance of performance. However, advancements in performance have slowed while demand for datacenter capacity is growing exponentially. High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing (HPRC) is a promising emerging technology to address these new challenges. An HPRC system is a computer system that combines microprocessors and reconfigurable processors into a single computer where the reconfigurable processors become the hardware embodiment of the target applications. HPRC systems reportedly could deliver up to 100  time improvements in performance while consuming 1/100th of the power and occupying 1/500th of the space required for conventional microprocessor technologies.

In recognition of these technological advancements, the EECS department introduced its students to such innovations to prepare them to contribute to the future of HPRC systems. In the spring of 2016, Esam El-Araby taught “EECS 743 - Advanced Computer Architecture” in which students were trained on one of the state-of-the-art cloud-based HPRC systems from SRC Computers, LLC. Marked by the initials of its founder in 1996 Seymour R Cray, the father of supercomputers, SRC Computers aim is to create new and highly efficient computer architectures that adapt to the needs of applications. KU students are experiencing SRC’s productive programming environment, CARTETM to building highly customizable dataflow hardware for realistic workloads while learning the fundamentals of computer architecture. In addition to reconfigurable computing, the course also focuses on other emerging technologies such as cognitive computing, neuromorphic computing, and quantum computing.

Advanced Computer Architecture, Class of Spring 2016. from left to right:  Waqar Ali, Prasanth Chattir. Prathap Valsan, Ryan Land, James Stanton, Prof. Esam El-Araby, Riley Epperson,  Parker Riley, Brandon Teh, Tyler Wade, Navajit Baruah, Farzad Farshchi
Advanced Computer Architecture, Class of Spring 2016. from left to right: Waqar Ali, Prasanth Chattir. Prathap Valsan, Ryan Land, James Stanton, Prof. Esam El-Araby, Riley Epperson, Parker Riley, Brandon Teh, Tyler Wade, Navajit Baruah, Farzad Farshchi