DSAGEN: Synthesizing Programmable Spatial Accelerators

Jian Weng, Sihao Liu, Vidushi Dadu, Zhengrong Wang, Preyas Shah, Tony Nowatzki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Domain-specific hardware accelerators can provide orders of magnitude speedup and energy efficiency over general purpose processors. However, they require extensive manual effort in hardware design and software stack development. Automated ASIC generation (eg. HLS) can be insufficient, because the hardware becomes inflexible. An ideal accelerator generation framework would be automatable, enable deep specialization to the domain, and maintain a uniform programming interface. Our insight is that many prior accelerator architectures can be approximated by composing a small number of hardware primitives, specifically those from spatial architectures. With careful design, a compiler can understand how to use available primitives, with modular and composable transformations, to take advantage of the features of a given program. This suggests a paradigm where accelerators can be generated by searching within such a rich accelerator design space, guided by the affinity of input programs for hardware primitives and their interactions. We use this approach to develop the DSAGEN framework, which automates the hardware/software co-design process for reconfigurable accelerators. For several existing accelerators, our evaluation demonstrates that the compiler can achieve 89% of the performance of manually tuned versions. For automated design space exploration, we target multiple sets of workloads which prior accelerators are design for; the generated hardware has mean 1.3× perf2/mm2 over prior programmable accelerators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 ACM/IEEE 47th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781728146614
StatePublished - May 2020
Event47th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2020 - Virtual, Online, Spain
Duration: May 30 2020Jun 3 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Computer Architecture
ISSN (Print)1063-6897


Conference47th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2020
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture


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