Closing the gap: CPU and FPGA Trends in sustainable floating-point BLAS performance

Keith D. Underwood, K. Scott Hemmert

Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have long been an attractive alternative to microprocessors for computing tasks — as long as floating-point arithmetic is not required. Fueled by the advance of Moore’s Law, FPGAs are rapidly reaching sufficient densities to enhance peak floating-point performance as well. The question, however, is how much of this peak performance can be sustained. This paper examines three of the basic linear algebra subroutine (BLAS) functions: vector dot product, matrix-vector multiply, and matrix multiply. A comparison of microprocessors, FPGAs, and Reconfigurable Computing platforms is performed for each operation. The analysis highlights the amount of memory bandwidth and internal storage needed to sustain peak performance with FPGAs. This analysis considers the historical context of the last six years and is extrapolated for the next six years.


BLAS Comparison on FPGA, CPU and GPU

Srinidhi Kestur, John D. Davis

High Performance Computing (HPC) or scientific codes are being executed across a wide variety of computing platforms from embedded processors to massively parallel GPUs. We present a comparison of the Basic Linear Algebra Subroutines (BLAS) using double-precision floating point on an FPGA, CPU and GPU. On the CPU and GPU, we utilize standard libraries on state-of-the-art devices. On the FPGA, we have developed parameterized modular implementations for the dot product and Gaxpy or matrix-vector multiplication. In order to obtain optimal performance for any aspect ratio of the matrices, we have designed a high-throughput accumulator to perform an efficient reduction of floating point values. To support scalability to large data-sets, we target the BEE3 FPGA platform. We use performance and energy efficiency as metrics to compare the different platforms. Results show that FPGAs offer comparable performance as well as 2.7 to 293 times better energy efficiency for the test cases that we implemented on all three platforms.


Biosignal processing challenges in emotion recognition for adaptive learning

Aniket Vartak
15 comments

User-centered computer based learning is an emerging field of interdisciplinary research. Research in diverse areas such as psychology, computer science, neuroscience and signal processing is making contributions to take this field to the next level. Learning systems built using contributions from these fields could be used in actual training and education instead of just laboratory proof-of-concept. One of the important advances in this research is the detection and assessment of the cognitive and emotional state of the learner using such systems. This capability moves development beyond the use of traditional user performance metrics to include system intelligence measures that are based on current theories in neuroscience. These advances are of paramount importance in the success and wide spread use of learning systems that are automated and intelligent. Emotion is considered an important aspect of how learning occurs, and yet estimating it and making adaptive adjustments are not part of most learning systems. In this research we focus on one specific aspect of constructing an adaptive and intelligent learning system, that is, estimation of the emotion of the learner as he/she is using the automated training system. The challenge starts with the definition of the emotion and the utility of it in human life. The next challenge is to measure the co-varying factors of the emotions in a non-invasive way, and find consistent features from these measures that are valid across wide population. In this research we use four physiological sensors that are non-invasive, and establish a methodology of utilizing the data from these sensors using different signal processing tools. A validated set of visual stimuli used worldwide in the research of emotion and attention, called International Affective Picture System (IAPS), is used. A dataset is collected from the sensors in an experiment designed to elicit emotions from these validated visual stimuli. We describe a novel wavelet method to calculate hemispheric asymmetry metric using electroencephalography data. This method is tested against typically used power spectral density method. We show overall improvement in accuracy in classifying specific emotions using the novel method. We also show distinctions between different discrete emotions from the autonomic nervous system activity using electrocardiography, electrodermal activity and pupil diameter changes. Findings from different features from these sensors are used to give guidelines to use each of the individual sensors in the adaptive learning environment.


Gauss-Newton Based Learning for Fully Recurrent Neural Networks

Aniket Vartak
4 comments

The thesis discusses a novel off-line and on-line learning approach for Fully Recurrent Neural Networks (FRNNs). The most popular algorithm for training FRNNs, the Real Time Recurrent Learning (RTRL) algorithm, employs the gradient descent technique for finding the optimum weight vectors in the recurrent neural network. Within the framework of the research presented, a new off-line and on-line variation of RTRL is presented, that is based on the Gauss-Newton method. The method itself is an approximate Newton’s method tailored to the specific optimization problem, (non-linear least squares), which aims to speed up the process of FRNN training. The new approach stands as a robust and effective compromise between the original gradient-based RTRL (low computational complexity, slow convergence) and Newton-based variants of RTRL (high computational complexity, fast convergence). By gathering information over time in order to form Gauss-Newton search vectors, the new learning algorithm, GN-RTRL, is capable of converging faster to a better quality solution than the original algorithm. Experimental results reflect these qualities of GN-RTRL, as well as the fact that GN-RTRL may have in practice lower computational cost in comparison, again, to the original RTRL.


Wavelet Denoising for TDR Dynamic Range Improvement

Peter J. Pupalaikis

A technique is presented for removing large amounts of noise present in time-domain-reflectometry (TDR) waveforms to increase the dynamic range of TDR waveforms and TDR based s-parameter measurements.


Bilinear Transformation Made Easy

Peter J. Pupalaikis
1 comment

A formula is derived and demonstrated that is capable of directly generating digital filter coefficients from an analog filter prototype using the bilinear transformation. This formula obviates the need for any algebraic manipulation of the analog prototype filter and is ideal for use in embedded systems that must take in any general analog filter specification and dynamically generate digital filter coefficients directly usable in difference equations.


FUZZY LOGIC BASED CONVOLUTIONAL DECODER FOR USE IN MOBILE TELEPHONE SYSTEMS

Andreas Falkenberg, Albrecht Kunz
1 comment

Efficient convolutional coding and decoding algorithms are most crucial to successful operation of wireless communication systems in order to achieve high quality of service by reducing the overall bit error rate performance. A widely applied and well evaluated scheme for error correction purposes is well known as Viterbi algorithm [7]. Although the Viterbi algorithm has very good error correcting characteristics, computational effort required remains high. In this paper a novel approach is discussed introducing a convolutional decoder design based on fuzzy logic. A simplified version of this fuzzy based decoder is examined with respect to bit error rate (BER) performance. It can be shown that the fuzzy based convolutional decoder here proposed considerably reduces computational effort with only minor BER performance degradation when compared to the classical Viterbi approach.


Method to Calculate the Inverse of a Complex Matrix using Real Matrix Inversion

Andreas Falkenberg
4 comments

This paper describes a simple method to calculate the invers of a complex matrix. The key element of the method is to use a matrix inversion, which is available and optimised for real numbers. Some actual libraries used for digital signal processing only provide highly optimised methods to calculate the inverse of a real matrix, whereas no solution for complex matrices are available, like in [1]. The presented algorithm is very easy to implement, while still much more efficient than for example the method presented in [2]. [1] Visual DSP++ 4.0 C/C++ Compiler and Library Manual for TigerSHARC Processors; Analog Devices; 2005. [2] W. Press, S.A. Teukolsky, W.T. Vetterling, B.R. Flannery; Numerical Recipes in C++, The art of scientific computing, Second Edition; p52 : “Complex Systems of Equations”;Cambridge University Press 2002.


Fully Programmable LDPC Decoder Hardware Architectures

Christiane Maja Beusche
1 comment

In recent years, the amount of digital data which is stored and transmitted for private and public usage has increased considerably. To allow a save transmission and storage of data despite of error-prone transmission media, error correcting codes are used. A large variety of codes has been developed, and in the past decade low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes which have an excellent error correction performance became more and more popular. Today, low-density parity-check codes have been adopted for several standards, and efficient decoder hardware architectures are known for the chosen structured codes. However, the existing decoder designs lack flexibility as only few structured codes can be decoded with one decoder chip. In consequence, different codes require a redesign of the decoder, and few solutions exist for decoding of codes which are not quasi-cyclic or which are unstructured. In this thesis, three different approaches are presented for the implementation of fully programmable LDPC decoders which can decode arbitrary LDPC codes. As a design study, the first programmable decoder which uses a heuristic mapping algorithm is realized on an field-programmable gate array (FPGA), and error correction curves are measured to verify the correct functionality. The main contribution of this thesis lies in the development of the second and the third architecture and an appropriate mapping algorithm. The proposed fully programmable decoder architectures use one-phase message passing and layered decoding and can decode arbitrary LDPC codes using an optimum mapping and scheduling algorithm. The presented programmable architectures are in fact generalized decoder architectures from which the known decoders architectures for structured LDPC codes can be derived.


Design of a Scalable Polyphony-MIDI Synthesizer for a Low Cost DSP

Antti Huovilainen

In this thesis, the design of a music synthesizer implementing the Scalable Polyphony-MIDI soundset on a low cost DSP system is presented. First, the SP-MIDI standard and the target DSP platform are presented followed by review of commonly used synthesis techniques and their applicability to systems with limited computational and memory resources. Next, various oscillator and filter algorithms used in digital subtractive synthesis are reviewed in detail. Special attention is given to the aliasing problem caused by discontinuities in classical waveforms, such as sawtooth and pulse waves and existing methods for bandlimited waveform synthesis are presented. This is followed by review of established structures for computationally efficient time-varying filters. A novel digital structure is presented that decouples the cutoff and resonance controls. The new structure is based on the analog Korg MS-20 lowpass filter and is computationally very efficient and well suited for implementation on low bitdepth architectures. Finally, implementation issues are discussed with emphasis on the Differentiated Parabole Wave oscillator and MS-20 filter structures and the effects of limited computational capability and low bitdepth. This is followed by designs for several example instruments.