Customizable Domain-Specific Computing

Thursday April 1, 2010
HH 1112

Jason Cong


In order to meet ever-increasing computing needs and overcome power density limitations, the computing industry has halted simple processor frequency scaling and entered the era of parallelization, with tens to hundreds of computing cores integrated in a single processor, and hundreds to thousands of computing servers connected in a warehouse-scale data center. However, such highly parallel, general-purpose computing systems still face serious challenges in terms of performance, power, heat dissipation, space, and cost. We believe that we need to look beyond parallelization and focus on domain-specific customization as the next opportunity to bring orders-of-magnitude power-performance efficiency improvement to important classes of applications. This challenge requires a great deal of innovation in architecture, compilation, and runtime system design, and offers many exciting and challenging research opportunities. I shall talk about the ongoing work at the newly established Center for Domain-Specific Computing supported by the NSF Expeditions in Computing award. Our proposed domain-specific customizable computing platform includes: 1) a wide range of customizable computing elements, from heterogeneous fixed cores to coarse-grain customizable cores, and to fine-grain field-programmable circuit fabrics; 2) customizable high-performance radio frequency interconnects; and 3) highly automated compilation tools and runtime management software systems for application development; and 4) a general, reusable methodology for customizable computing applicable across different domains. By combining these critical capabilities, we aim to provide a supercomputer-in-a-box that is customized to a particular application domain with much higher performance/power efficiency. We choose application domains in healthcare to demonstrate our approach.


Jason Cong received his B.S. degree in computer science from Peking University in 1985, his M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987 and 1990, respectively. Currently, he is a Chancellor’s Professor at the Computer Science Department of University of California, Los Angeles, director of Center for Domain-Specific Computing (CDSC), co-director of UCLA/Peking University Joint Research Institute in Science and Engineering, and co-director of the VLSI CAD Laboratory. He served as the department chair from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Cong’s research interests include synthesis of VLSI circuits and systems, programmable systems, novel computer architectures, nano-systems, and highly scalable algorithms. He has over 300 publications in these areas, include five best paper awards. He was elected to an IEEE Fellow in 2000 and ACM Fellow in 2008.

Dr. Cong has graduated 25 PhD students. A number of them are now faculty members in major research universities, including Georgia Tech., Purdue, SUNY Binghamton, UCLA, UIUC, and UT Austin. Others are taking key R&D or management positions in major EDA/computer/semiconductor companies, or being founding members of high-tech startups.

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