The end of Dennard scaling and Moore’s law is driving transformational change in hardware, leading to a rise in specialized, domain-specific heterogeneous systems. There is an accompanying explosion of sophisticated applications deployed at the edge on diverse heterogeneous devices that interface directly with the end-user. Realizing the full potential of these trends will require new technologies for scalable specialization and a change in how we conduct systems research.
First, we must move from evaluating single application components to end-to-end systems, replacing conventional power-performance-area metrics with those that capture end-user perception. Second, end-to-end system design requires moving from a focus on single accelerators to heterogeneous parallel systems with simultaneously communicating diverse accelerators, requiring scalable and specializable accelerator communication interfaces. Third, effective programmability of such systems requires new hardware-software interfaces designed to represent parallelism, heterogeneity, and communication.
To illustrate the above shift, I will describe ILLIXR, the Illinois Extended Reality (XR) testbed, the first complete open-source XR system for enabling end-to-end systems research with a rich and demanding edge application domain; Spandex, a flexible and scalable accelerator communication interface that enables each accelerator to specialize for its coherence, consistency, and data movement requirements; and Heterogeneous Parallel Virtual Memory (HPVM), a virtual ISA and compiler IR designed from the ground up as a hardware-software interface for heterogeneous parallel systems. I will summarize how these technologies are enabling ongoing projects towards scalable specialization.
Chair:Hyesoon Kim, Georgia Institute of Technology
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