Cross-vendor programming abstraction for diverse heterogeneous platforms
Leppänen, Topi; Lotvonen, Atro; Jääskeläinen, Pekka (2022-10-20)
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Hardware specialization is a well-known means to significantly improve the performance and energy efficiency of various application domains. Modern computing systems consist of multiple specialized processing devices which need to collaborate with each other to execute common tasks. New heterogeneous programming abstractions have been created to program heterogeneous systems. Even though many of these abstractions are open vendor-independent standards, cross-vendor interoperability between different implementations is limited since the vendors typically do not have commercial motivations to invest in it. Therefore, getting good performance from vendor-independent heterogeneous programming standards has proven difficult for systems with multiple different device types. In order to help unify the field of heterogeneous programming APIs for platforms with hardware accelerators from multiple vendors, we propose a new software abstraction for hardware-accelerated tasks based on the open OpenCL programming standard. In the proposed abstraction, we rely on the built-in kernel feature of the OpenCL specification to define a portability layer that stores enough information for automated accelerator utilization. This enables the portability of high-level applications to a diverse set of accelerator devices with minimal programmer effort. The abstraction enables a layered software architecture that provides for an efficient combination of application phases to a single asynchronous application description from multiple domain-specific input languages. As proofs of the abstraction layer serving its purpose for the layers above and below it, we show how a domain-specific input description ONNX can be implemented on top of this portability abstraction, and how it also allows driving fixed function and FPGA-based hardware accelerators below in the hardware-specific backend. We also provide an example implementation of the abstraction to show that the abstraction layer does not seem to incur significant execution time overhead.
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