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Micron Advanced Computing Solutions (ACS) FAQs

Advanced Computing Solutions(4)
General(2)
Is Pico Computing now part of Micron?
In 2015 Micron Technology acquired Pico Computing, an industry leader in FPGA solutions. Now known as Micron Advanced Computing Solutions (ACS), our modular, highly scalable FPGA-based HPC and embedded systems comprise the industry’s leading technology for high-performance computing.
Does Micron favor Xilinx® or Altera® (Intel®) FPGAs?
Micron does not favor one or the other. Our ACS modules are designed around the latest-generation FPGA components from either Xilinx or Intel, depending on design goals and specific customer requirements.
Getting Started(3)
How do I get started with your system?
All of our ACS hardware comes with an installer file. Simply print out the Getting Started file and follow the directions. The C++ API source files that are included contain a PicoDrv, which represents an FPGA.
How do I interface with a host processor?
You interface like you would in any other system that utilizes PCIe® add-in cards.
How do I use more than one module?
Our PicoFramework provides access to all basic FPGA functionality regardless of the number of modules. The software API includes a source file called PicoDrv, which creates a PicoDrv object for each FPGA module in a system, making FPGA module communication simple.
Programming FPGAs(3)
How do I upload my bitfile to an FPGA in your system?
Our PicoFramework provides access to all of the basic FPGA functionality in your system. When you build a configuration file for an FPGA, the PicoFramework software will be the top level, and your module will be instantiated inside the framework. You create a PicoDrv object for each FPGA in the system.
What is the loading mechanism for backplane-mounted modules?
Programming an ACS module is accomplished via the PCIe® bus. Our EX-700 and EX-750 backplanes include a Spartan-6 FPGA that is used to load the ACS FPGA modules utilizing API calls. We also support and provide examples of DMA transfers through PCIe.
If I have a size-constrained application, do I need to use a backplane?
Our EX-700 and EX-750 backplanes are not technically required when using Micron’s ACS FPGA modules. Our modules can run in stand-alone with the bitfile programmed into the configuration flash, which then loads the FPGA.
Design Flows(6)
Do I need to migrate my entire application to a Micron ACS FPGA module to realize the performance advantage?
No. Simply move your application’s “hot spot” to the FPGA module and then execute a function call from the main application that remains on the traditional CPU-based system.
How do I recompile my legacy serial code to run on Micron’s ACS products?
Existing code written for serial processors should not be recompiled to run on highly parallel FPGA architectures because the many parallel benefits of the FPGA will not be realized. In fact, FPGAs are clocked much slower than CPUs (a significant power consumption benefit), so serial code would run even slower. Existing code should be analyzed to discern where the parallel nature of FPGAs offers the largest benefits, and only that part of the code should be rewritten to take advantage of the parallel nature of FPGAs. This way, the biggest benefit can be realized with the smallest effort.
Which tools do I need to use to utilize Micron’s ACS FPGA modules?
The PicoFramework doesn’t constrain your selection of FPGA design tools. Use whichever tools you are currently using for your FPGA development and whichever tools you are most comfortable with.
Does Micron ACS support OpenCL?
Yes. Both Intel’s OpenCL™ and Xilinx’s SDAccel can be used with PicoFramework. Use whichever tools you are currently using for your FPGA development and whichever tools you are most comfortable with.
Do I need to start from scratch?
No. To start your own project, simply find the sample that best matches your communication model and ACS module/board, and copy it to your work directory. The copy function will provide all source files for the PicoFramework; you will just need to add your own code.
What simulators does Micron’s ACS support?
We currently support both the Xilinx® ISim and the Altera® ModelSim (Mentor’s simulator) simulators.