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Designing architecture and compiler collaboration in Haifa

IBM Haifa Labs News Center

May 17, 2007

Representatives from companies and universities in more than a dozen European countries recently attended a week of events focusing on compiler and architecture technologies at the IBM Haifa Research Lab in Israel.

The IBM Haifa Compiler and Architecture seminar, collocated with the Third HiPEAC Industrial Workshop on Compilers and Architectures, was the main focus of the events. The European Network of Excellence on High-Performance Embedded Architecture and Compilation, HiPEAC is one of the leading forums in the world addressing compiler optimization and computer architecture. HiPEAC also recently publicized a long-term roadmap for future embedded architectures and related compiler and programming techniques.

The week-long Haifa summit also featured several meetings of European Union research projects. In addition to HiPEAC cluster meetings, project teams working on the EU FP6 projects Milepost, ACOTES, and SARC all took advantage of the convergence on Haifa to conduct meetings and discuss the progress of their projects. IBM Haifa researchers are key players on all these projects. Milepost focuses on researching how to optimize programs for re-configurable heterogeneous embedded processors; ACOTES is studying how to best handle embedded streaming applications with modern compiler technology; and SARC focuses on long-term research in advanced computer architecture.

"Our growing collaboration with HiPEAC is proving to be very beneficial," noted David Bernstein, DGM of the Software and Verification Technologies Department in the Haifa Lab. "The seminar, cluster meetings, and FP6 project discussions made the week a great forum for meeting colleagues from Israel and abroad, which helped forge strong connections between the local and European compiler and architectural communities."

"The joint sponsorship of the Haifa seminar also helps furthers the IBM agenda of open collaboration and innovation," Bernstein explained. "These types of consortiums can push these agendas, getting us more involved in the European IT environment. This is also a domain where we have major multi-core assets, like the Cell, and in which IBM is a leader spearheading research and development efforts."

Seminar participants represented leading European industrial corporations and universities conducting research and development in the compiler and architecture fields. Intel, NXP (formerly known as Philips Semiconductor), Freescale, and STMicroelectronics all sent representatives, as did the University of Edinburgh, the University of Ghent, UPC-Barcelona, the University of Delft, INRIA, and others.

The seminar featured Peter Hofstee, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and the chief scientist on the Cell project, as the keynote speaker. Developed jointly by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM for the gaming industry, the Cell chip is considered to be among the world's fastest and most advanced multi-core microprocessors. Hofstee gave a wide-reaching overview of the history, directions, current state-of-the-art, and future of highly programmable embedded processors such as the Cell.

"As advanced as it is, the Cell chip is just one of the multi-core processors that HiPEAC members are focusing on," noted Bilha Mendelson, manager of the Code Optimization Technologies department in HRL and one of the conference organizers. "The main focus of the seminar this year was multi-core processors and PowerPC architecture. Seminar presentations focused on the general use of multi-core processors for embedded architectures and compilers. Processors manufactured by IBM and others, such as Intel, were at the center of much of the discussion."

The collaboration nurtured by the IBM Haifa event is not merely a buzzword. One of the paper's presented at this year's event was a joint effort between two Israeli scientists who began working on an idea at the previous seminar in late 2005.

Seminar presentations focused on a number of topics at the forefront of the compiler and advanced architecture field, such as programming models for multi-core processors, simplifying multi-core programming, parallelism, exploitation, performance tools, and optimizing application development environments. The connection and growing convergence between gaming processors, such as the Cell chip, and graphic processors was also a focus of several lectures.

Collaboration between IBM and HiPEAC is sure to increase in the coming years. HRL researchers hope to leverage the recent productive meetings to promote future joint efforts and FP7 projects.

For more information about the Haifa Compiler and Architecture seminar, visit the seminar web site.


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