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it - Information Technology

Methods and Applications of Informatics and Information Technology

Editor-in-Chief: Conrad, Stefan

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Volume 59, Issue 3


FPGAs for data processing: Current state

Jens Teubner
Published Online: 2017-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/itit-2016-0046


To escape a number of physical limitations (e.g., bandwidth and thermal issues), hardware technology is strongly trending toward heterogeneous system designs, where a large share of the application work can be off-loaded to accelerators, such as graphics or network processors.

In the database domain, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) were recently discovered as a powerful class of co-processors. Data-intensive tasks can benefit from their very high bandwidth paired with a very low latency.

However, a number of challenges still have to be solved before FPGA-accelerated systems can go mainstream. Applications must leverage the massive parallelism provided by FPGAs; algorithms must be re-designed with awareness for communication; and new abstractions are needed to make system development effective.

In this article, we report on some of the results we obtained working toward solutions to these challenges. They have been carried out in the context of the Avalanche project, a pioneer in the use of FPGAs for database applications.

Keywords: Information systems–database management system engines; hardware–hardware accelerators; computer systems organization–parallel architectures

ACM CCS: Information systems →Data management systems →Database management system engines; Hardware →Integrated circuits →Reconfigurable logic and FPGAs →Hardware accelerators; Computer systems organization →Architectures →Parallel architectures

About the article

Jens Teubner

Jens Teubner is leading the Databases and Information Systems Group at TU Dortmund University, Germany. His main research interest is data processing on modern hardware platforms, including FPGAs, multi-core processors, and hardware-accelerated networks. Previously, Jens Teubner was a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich (2008-­2013) and IBM Research (2007-­2008). He holds a PhD in Computer Science from TU München (Munich, Germany) and an M.S. degree in Physics from the University of Konstanz, Germany.

TU Dortmund University, DBIS Group, 44227 Dortmund, Germany

Revised: 2017-02-22

Accepted: 2017-03-16

Received: 2016-10-27

Published Online: 2017-04-18

Published in Print: 2017-06-27

Citation Information: it - Information Technology, Volume 59, Issue 3, Pages 125–131, ISSN (Online) 2196-7032, ISSN (Print) 1611-2776, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/itit-2016-0046.

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