RocketChip RISC-V core + Amazon AWS EC2 F1 instance = FireSim cloud-based hardware/software co-development environment

2017年10月28日 | By News | Filed in: News.

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Now that Amazon has made the FPGA-accelerated AWS EC2 F1 instance based on multiple Xilinx Virtex UltraScale+ VU9P FPGAs generally available, the unbound imaginations of some really creative people have been set free. Case in point: the cloud-based FireSim hardware/software co-design environment and simulation platform for designing and simulating systems based on the open-source RocketChip RISC-V processor. The Computer Architecture Research Group at UC Berkeley is developing FireSim. (See “Bringing Datacenter-Scale Hardware-Software Co-design to the Cloud with FireSim and Amazon EC2 F1 Instances.”)

 

Here’s what FireSim looks like:

 

 

FireSim diagram.jpg 

 

 

According to the AWS blog cited above, FireSim addresses several hardware/software development challenges. Here are some direct quotes from the AWS blog:

 

1: “FPGA-based simulations have traditionally been expensive, difficult to deploy, and difficult to reproduce. FireSim uses public-cloud infrastructure like F1, which means no upfront cost to purchase and deploy FPGAs. Developers and researchers can distribute pre-built AMIs and AFIs, as in this public demo (more details later in this post), to make experiments easy to reproduce. FireSim also automates most of the work involved in deploying an FPGA simulation, essentially enabling one-click conversion from new RTL to deploying on an FPGA cluster.”

 

2: “FPGA-based simulations have traditionally been difficult (and expensive) to scale. Because FireSim uses F1, users can scale out experiments by spinning up additional EC2 instances, rather than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on large FPGA clusters.”

 

3: “Finding open hardware to simulate has traditionally been difficult. Finding open hardware that can run real software stacks is even harder. FireSim simulates RocketChip, an open, silicon-proven, RISC-V-based processor platform, and adds peripherals like a NIC and disk device to build up a realistic system. Processors that implement RISC-V automatically support real operating systems (such as Linux) and even support applications like Apache and Memcached. We provide a custom Buildroot-based FireSim Linux distribution that runs on our simulated nodes and includes many popular developer tools.”

 

4: “Writing hardware in traditional HDLs is time-consuming. Both FireSim and RocketChip use the Chisel HDL, which brings modern programming paradigms to hardware description languages. Chisel greatly simplifies the process of building large, highly parameterized hardware components.”

 

 

Using high-speed FPGA technology to simulate hardware isn’t a new idea. Using an inexpensive, cloud-based version of that same FPGA technology to develop hardware and software from your laptop while sitting in a coffee house in Coeur d’Alene, Timbuktu, or Ballarat—now that is something new.

 

 

 

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October 28, 2017 at 07:54AM


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