UFDAC hosts EUCALL GPU-FPGA Workshop at European XFEL

EUCALL’s Ultrafast Data Acquisition (UFDAC) work package has hosted an international workshop on GPU-FPGA programming which was held during 15-18 November 2016 at European XFEL in Schenefeld.

New developments in Graphical Processor Unit (GPU) and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) computing are of critical importance for upcoming light sources such as European XFEL - which will generate 27,000 pulses of x-rays per second, with a pulse repetition rate of up to 4.5 MHz. This means that the computing systems will have to process one x-ray image every 220 nanoseconds, which pushes the limits of what is possible with existing data acquisition methods.

“GPU and FPGA are like two different religions for engineers” says UFDAC Work Package Leader Dr. Michael Bussmann, from Helmholz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. “Within UFDAC we bring together experts from both communities, enabling experience exchange between the two groups and finding new ways to collaborate together.”

At the GPU-FPGA Workshop, 45 hardware and software engineers and computer scientists from eight synchrotron, free-electron laser and high-power laser facilities joined with experts from universities and industry for lectures, tutorials and joint exercises in both types of programming. "I learned to complete my first functioning FPGA program within two hours and it was great fun - and I heard it was the same for the GPU programming novices." Bussmann adds.