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The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), find out more

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The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) was founded in 1978 and was the first institution in Italy to promote post-graduate courses leading to a Doctor Philosophiae (or PhD) degree. A centre of excellence among Italian and international universities, the school has around 65 teachers, 100 post docs and 245 PhD students, and is located in Trieste, in a campus of more than 10 hectares with wonderful views over the Gulf of Trieste.

SISSA hosts a very high-ranking, large and multidisciplinary scientific research output. The scientific papers produced by its researchers are published in high impact factor, well-known international journals, and in many cases in the world's most prestigious scientific journals such as Nature and Science. Over 900 students have so far started their careers in the field of mathematics, physics and neuroscience research at SISSA.



A high-throughput readout architecture based on PCI-Express Gen3 and DirectGMA technology

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Published 12 February 2016 © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl
, , Citation L. Rota et al 2016 JINST 11 P02007



Modern physics experiments produce multi-GB/s data rates. Fast data links and high performance computing stages are required for continuous data acquisition and processing. Because of their intrinsic parallelism and computational power, GPUs emerged as an ideal solution to process this data in high performance computing applications. In this paper we present a high-throughput platform based on direct FPGA-GPU communication. The architecture consists of a Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine compatible with the Xilinx PCI-Express core, a Linux driver for register access, and high- level software to manage direct memory transfers using AMD's DirectGMA technology. Measurements with a Gen3 x8 link show a throughput of 6.4 GB/s for transfers to GPU memory and 6.6 GB/s to system memory. We also assess the possibility of using the architecture in low latency systems: preliminary measurements show a round-trip latency as low as 1 μs for data transfers to system memory, while the additional latency introduced by OpenCL scheduling is the current limitation for GPU based systems. Our implementation is suitable for real-time DAQ system applications ranging from photon science and medical imaging to High Energy Physics (HEP) systems.

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