Last year (December 2015), Intel completed the acquisition of Altera. As a result of this acquisition, the integration of processor and FPGA on a single chip is finally becoming a reality.
Intel envisions many applications for this combination of processor and FPGA. The FPGA will fulfill accelerator tasks, either by static configuration or dynamic reconfiguration.
The HW interfaces between processor and FPGA will a mix of QPI (Quick Path Interconnect, an inter-processor bus) and PCIe.
One of the advantages of an integrated package is that customers can accelerate specific workloads without needing to purchase or develop separate accelerators, lowering costs and improving power efficiency.
Some of the applications envisioned by Intel by this new kind of processor includes the following areas:
- Cloud Computing
- Visual recognition (Neural Networks accelerated via the FPGA core)
- Genomics analysis
- Database queries (decompression algorithm accelerated on the FPGA).
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