Convey HC-1 -- The Potential of FPGAs in Numerical Simulation

  • Werner Augustin (Author)
  • Vincent Heuveline (Author)
    Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab (EMCL), Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR), Heidelberg University
  • Jan-Philipp Weiss (Author)


The Convey HC-1 Hybrid Core Computer brings FPGA technologies closer to numerical simulation. It combines two types of processor architectures in a single system. Highly capable FPGAs are closely connected to a host CPU and the accelerator-to-memory bandwidth has remarkable values. Reconfigurability by means of pre-defined application-specific instruction sets called personalities have the appeal of optimized hardware configuration with respect to application characteristics. Moreover, Conveyś solution eases the programming effort considerably. In contrast to hardware-centric and time- consuming classical coding of FPGAs, a dual-target compiler interprets pragma-extended C/C++ or Fortran code and produces implementations running on both, host and accelerator. In addition, a global view of host and device memory is provided by means of a cache-coherent shared virtual memory space.

In this work we analyze Convey's programming paradigm and the associated programming effort, and we present practical results on the HC-1. We consider vectorization strategies for the single and double precision vector personalities and a suite of basic numerical routines. Furthermore, we assess the viability of the Convey HC-1 Hybrid Core Computer for numerical simulation.




The Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab (EMCL), directed by Prof. Dr. Vincent Heuveline, is a research group at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR).

The EMCL Preprint Series contains publications that were accepted for the Preprint Series of the EMCL and are planned to be published in journals, books, etc. soon.

The EMCL Preprint Series was published under the roof of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) until April 30, 2013. As from May 01, 2013 it is published under the roof of Heidelberg University.