Center for Domain-Specific Computing
National Science Foundation Expeditions in Computing Program and InTrans Award
Jason Cong, Ph.D. (Computer Science), Director; http://www.cdsc.ucla.edu
To meet ever-increasing computing needs and overcome power density limitations, the computing industry has entered the era of parallelization, with tens to hundreds of computing cores integrated into a single processor and hundreds to thousands of computing servers connected in warehouse-scale data centers. However, such highly parallel, general-purpose computing systems still face serious challenges in terms of performance, energy, heat dissipation, space, and cost. The Center for Domain-Specific Computing (CDSC) looks beyond parallelization and focuses on domain-specific customization as the next disruptive technology to bring orders-of-magnitude power-performance efficiency improvement to important application domains.
CDSC develops a general methodology for creating novel customizable computing platforms and the associated compilation tools and runtime management environment to support domain-specific computing. The recent focus is on design and implementation of accelerator-rich architectures, from single chips to data centers. It also includes highly automated compilation tools and runtime management software systems for customizable heterogeneous platforms, including multi-core CPUs, many-core GPUs, and FPGAs, as well as a general, reusable methodology for customizable computing applicable across different domains. By combining these critical capabilities, the goal is to deliver a supercomputer-in-a-box or supercomputer-in-a-cluster (for data center level deployment) that can be customized to an application domain to enable disruptive innovations. Our approach has been successfully demonstrated in the domain of medical image processing with over 10X improvement in performance and 100X in energy efficiency. It has been extended to a number of other domains, including computational genomics, image recognition, machine learning, and big-data analytics.
CDSC research is carried out as a collaborative effort between four universities: UCLA (lead institution), Rice University, UC Santa Barbara, and Ohio State University. The research team consists of a group of highly accomplished researchers with diversified backgrounds, including computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, medicine, and applied mathematics. CDSC offers many research opportunities for graduate students, and also provides summer research fellowship programs for high school and undergraduate students. Core funding for CDSC is provided by the National Science Foundation with a $10 million award from the 2009 Expeditions in Computing Program, which is the largest single investment made by the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) . In July 2014, CDSC was awarded an additional $3 million by the Intel Corporation with matching support from NSF under its Innovation Transition (InTrans) program. This award supports CDSC’s follow-on research on accelerator-rich architectures with applications to health care, in which personalized cancer treatment is added as an application domain in addition to medical imaging. Oregon Health and Science University also joins as a research partner under the InTrans program.