Are FPGAs Suitable for Edge Computing?

TitleAre FPGAs Suitable for Edge Computing?
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBiookaghazadeh, S, Zhao, M, Ren, F
Conference NameThe USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Edge Computing (HotEdge '18)
Date Published07/2018
Conference LocationBOSTON, MA
Keywords (or New Research Field)psclab

The rapid growth of Internet-of-things (IoT) and artificial intelligence applications have called forth a new computing paradigm–edge computing. In this paper, we study the suitability of deploying FPGAs for edge computing from the perspectives of throughput sensitivity to workload size, architectural adaptiveness to algorithm characteristics, and energy efficiency. This goal is accomplished by conducting comparison experiments on an Intel Arria 10 GX1150 FPGA and an Nvidia Tesla K40m GPU. The experiment results imply that the key advantages of adopting FPGAs for edge computing over GPUs are three-fold: 1) FPGAs can provide a consistent throughput invariant to the size of application workload, which is critical to aggregating individual service requests from various IoT sensors; (2) FPGAs offer both spatial and temporal parallelism at a fine granularity and a massive scale, which guarantees a consistently high performance for accelerating both high-concurrency and high-dependency algorithms; and (3) FPGAs feature 3– 4 times lower power consumption and up to 30.7 times better energy efficiency, offering better thermal stability and lower energy cost per functionality.

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