The AXIOM-board: bringing programmability, acceleration, scalability into a 64-bit hand-size board

Roberto Giorgi

Presentation title

The AXIOM-board: bringing programmability, acceleration, scalability into a 64-bit hand-size board


Roberto Giorgi


University of Siena

Presentation type

Technical presentation


A major limitation of current embedded systems is that the designer has to migrate to a different board once the requirements exceed the capability of the single board.

The natural solution seems to be bringing the distributed system concepts into the embedded domain. However, this may require: i) effort for the programmers to use distributed computing environments such as OpenMPI; ii) inefficiency or high costs to interconnect multiple boards; iii) acceleration at the expense of partial reconfigurability.

The AXIOM-board has been designed with the goal to provide a means to overcome the previous challenges by: i) using OpenMP based programming to accelerate the execution of existing shared-memory programs; ii) use inexpensive USB based cables, built0in routers and a custom loss-less protocol to interconnect multiple boards in a 2D torus configuration; iii) provide the ability to spread the computation on multiple FPGA without necessarily using partial reconfiguration.

Moreover, the board is intended to support a more aggressive data-driven (dataflow) thread-based execution paradigm for even better performance and efficiency.

While the software stack is still under development, the physical hardware is currently successfully working. This presentation will show the architecture of the board and its benefits for the embedded computing community.

The board provides also an Arduino socket and a trace-port that has been thought for applications in automotive applications.

Our initial tests highlight a potential of about 3x in performance of our framework -- when combined with the dataflow based approach -- compared to Cilk (for the single board) or OpenMPI (for multiple boards).

Additional material

  • Presentation slides: [pdf]