Introduction

The SDAccel Environment, a member of the SDx™ family of development environments for systems and software engineers, enables up to 25X better performance/watt for data center application acceleration leveraging FPGAs. Nimbix Inc® has partnered with Xilinx® to deliver an opportunity to test drive SDAccel and see how FPGA-based acceleration can speed-up your OpenCL C, C/C++ and RTL Kernels. The Nimbix Cloud provides a purpose-built compute cloud for big data and computation. It now hosts the SDAccel development environment for companies who want to streamline evaluations and accelerate FPGA kernels.

Nimbix offers a variety of FPGA resources including the Alveo Accelerator card. See full list of available hardware here: Xilinx FPGAs on Nimbix

Design Examples

A variety of examples are available on the Xilinx GitHub

Hello World

This page will ues a simple example to walkthrough the SDAccel tools and runtime available on the JARVICE platform which powers the NIMBIX cloud.

Start new SDAccel session on JARVICE

  1. Sign up for Alveo Trial
  2. Login to the JARVICE portal for Xilinx
  3. Review the JARVICE environment:
    • JARVICE Runtime Directories
      NOTE: Only data in a user's vault is persistent between jobs. NIMBIX recommends using /tmp for best I/O performance (resulting data must be copied back to your vault before terminating the job). Please refer to JARVICE Runtime Directories for additional information
    • Transferring Data
    • Onboarding
  4. Click on Xilinx SDAccel Development & Alveo FPGA 2018.3 application

    SDAccel App

  5. Select the Desktop Mode Without FPGA option

    SDAccel Workflows

  6. SUBMIT the job.

  7. Click on the Desktop Preview to join the SDAccel session

    SDAccel connect

Clone SDAccel Examples for 2018.3

  1. Open terminal
  2. Clone Hello World into your vault
git clone --branch 2018.3 --depth=1 https://github.com/Xilinx/SDAccel_Examples /data/SDAccel_Examples

SDAccel SW emulation

Like most accelerators, there are separate binaries for the host software and accelerated kernel. The SDAccel compiler will compile C/C++/VHDL/Verilog source into an *.xclbin binary for the Alveo accelerator card. The compilation process for FPGAs can exceed several hours to create a custom architecture for a design. To alleviate compilation times, SDAccel provides a software (sw_emu) and hardware (hw_emu) emulator to test and verify kernel designs. This section will go over using the software emulator.

  1. Open a terminal
  2. Compile kernel for sw emulation
# Create local build directory in /tmp
TMP_WORK_DIR=$(mktemp -d)
# Compile for SW emulation
cd /data/SDAccel_Examples/getting_started/hello_world/helloworld_c
make all BUILD_DIR=${TMP_WORK_DIR} TARGET=sw_emu DEVICE=xilinx_u200_xdma_201830_1

Run test with software emulator

# Setup environment for SW emulation
export XCL_EMULATION_MODE=sw_emu
emconfigutil --platform xilinx_u200_xdma_201830_1 --nd 1
# Run emulation test (not on Alveo hardware)
./host xclbin/vadd.sw_emu.xilinx_u200_xdma_2018301.xclbin

Compile for Alveo hardware

  1. Click on Xilinx SDAccel Development & Alveo FPGA 2018.3 application

    SDAccel App

  2. Select the Batch Mode option

    SDAccel Workflows

  3. Fill in the Command box with:

TMP_WORK_DIR=$(mktemp -d) && make -C /data/SDAccel_Examples/getting_started/hello_world/helloworld_c all BUILD_DIR=${TMP_WORK_DIR} TARGET=hw DEVICE=xilinx_u200_xdma_201830_1

SDAccel Batch

A batch (non-interactive) job will start on the JARVICE Dashboard to build the Hello World *.xclbin file. This job will shutdown after completion. The *.xclbin file will be saved in the vault at /data/SDAccel_Examples/getting_started/hello_world/helloworld_c/xclbin

NOTE Ensure data is being written to the vault /data when using batch/non-interactive jobs. All other data (e.g. written to ${HOME}) will be lost when the job ends.

Run Hello World on Alveo

  1. Click on Xilinx SDAccel Development & Alveo FPGA 2018.3 application

    SDAccel App

  2. Select the Desktop Mode With FPGA option

    SDAccel Workflows

  3. Open terminal and run Hello World

# List available Xilinx accelerators
xbutil list
# Get general info
xbutil query
# Run Hello World
cd /data/SDAccel_Examples/getting_started/hello_world/helloworld_c
./host xclbin/vadd.hw.xilinx_u200_xdma_201830_1.xclbin

Shutdown SDAccel

SDAccel Shutdown

Alveo Trial for NIMBIX cloud

Register for Alveo trial using company or university email