Berkin Akin, Franz Franchetti and James C. Hoe (Proc. IEEE International Conference on Application-Specific Systems, Architectures and Processors (ASAP), pp. 248-255, 2014)
Understanding the Design Space of DRAM-optimized Hardware FFT Accelerators

As technology scaling is reaching its limits, pointing to the well-known memory and power wall problems, achieving high-performance and energy-efficient systems is becoming a significant challenge. Especially for data-intensive computing, efficient utilization of the memory subsystem is the key to achieve high performance and energy efficiency.We address this challenge in DRAM-optimized hardware accelerators for 1D, 2D and 3D fast Fourier transforms (FFT) on large datasets. When the dataset has to be stored in external DRAM, the main challenge for FFT algorithm design lies in reshaping DRAM-unfriendly memory access patterns to eliminate excessive DRAM row buffer misses. More importantly, these algorithms need to be carefully mapped to the targeted platform’s architecture, particularly the memory subsystem, to fully utilize performance and energy efficiency potentials. We use automatic design generation techniques to consider a family of DRAM-optimized FFT algorithms and their hardware implementation design space. In our evaluations, we demonstrate DRAM-optimized accelerator designs over a large tradeoff space given various problem (single/double precision 1D, 2D and 3D FFTs) and hardware platform (off-chip DRAM, 3D-stacked DRAM, ASIC, FPGA, etc.) parameters. We show that generated pareto-optimal designs can yield up to 5.5x energy consumption and order of magnitude memory bandwidth utilization improvements in DRAM, which lead to overall system performance and power efficiency improvements of up to 6x and 6.5x respectively over conventional row-column FFT algorithms.

Hardware, Acceleration, Optimizing, Design