PHOENIX, 20 Jan. 2014. “Heterogeneous computing, the practice of combining multiple processing elements to form hybrid high-performance computing systems,” enables engineers and end users to reap the benefits of multiple types of system technologies, explains Adam Smith, a sales professional at Alpha Data in Denver.
Different embedded solutions bring their own strengths and weaknesses. Computer processing units (CPUs) are well suited to handling sequential workloads and benefit from a large existing code base; the drawback is power consumption and the latency involved in getting data to be processed. Graphics processing units (GPUs) are better at processing vector data and parallel processing, but at the cost of high power consumption. Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) require lower power and are low latency, but more money and higher complexity are involved in system designs, Smith explains during a talk at VITA’s Embedded Tech Trends in Phoenix.
Engineers and end users reap the greatest benefit by employing heterogeneous computing. Smith recommends creating hybrid systems to benefit from the best characteristics of each (FPGA, GPU, and CPU), including: low latency, power efficiency, attractive performance per dollar, longer product life, customization, and the efficient use of diverse processors.
“The future of embedded computing is hybrid processing architectures. Software/programming models to span different processors and hardware systems with diverse processing elements,” Smith predicts.