FPGA-based coprocessors are developed and used by the group since 1999. The architecture of the MPRACE family is based on a central FPGA, which is connected via a bridge device with the PC bus (PCI-X or PCIe). In addition to a standard DRAM memory module 2 banks of fast SRAM memory are available to the FPGA. Via high-speed connectors various expansion cards can be attached, eg for memory, for external processors or for special I/O interfaces.
The image below shows a typical block diagram of such an architecture.
Currently, the processors MPRACE-1 with Xilinx Virtex-2 technology
and MPRACE-2 with Xilinx Virtex-4 technology
are in use. Both MPRACE-1 and MPRACE-2 were used by the GRACE project to accelerate scientific simulations.
MPRACE-3 based on with Xilinx series-7 technology is under development. Important research topics are co-processors architecture, in order to achieve an efficient and cost-effective acceleration of hybrid applications, and the associated software tools.