HL Steam teams up with BlueBee in FPGA initiative

HL Steam teams up with BlueBee in FPGA initiative


HL Steam are teaming up with BlueBee in an Anglo-Dutch initiative to port the Ancoa market integrity platform towards FPGA-accelerated computer architectures.

The architectures in question here include the Convey HC-2ex, which contains:

  • 4 Intel processors of 8 cores each
  • 4 Xilinx FPGA blades
  • 64GB RAM memory
  • 80GB internal bandwith

The main goal of the project is to demonstrate that it is possible with FPGA to more efficiently process real world workloads of financial trading data at a lower cost, both in dollar and in energy terms, reducing both capital and operational expenditure.

As we see it, processing big data in financial markets requires a diverse computational approach. This means that using general purpose processors (CPUs) exclusively will not give you optimal performance. Certain parts of the processing will be better handled using GPUs, or other types of processor, if those operations need to be done on a large number of data elements in parallel.

Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) are becoming an increasingly popular computing option, as they combine the speed and energy efficiency of hardware, with the programmability and usability of general purpose processors (CPUs).

FPGAs have been around for over 25 years, but can be notoriously difficult to program in a flexible, generic way, which is one reason why they have yet to gain the widespread popularity of GPUs despite offering great performance gains over CPUs and energy advantages.

Bluebee, a spin-off from Delft University of Technology and Imperial College, has developed a methodology to substantially increase the ease and flexibility with which platforms with heterogeneous computing elements (including FPGA) can be programmed.

The challenge here is in finding the right mapping of the application to the different processing elements, and with FPGA acceleration, to have hardware implementations of those functions for which substantial speedups are possible.

Prof Koen Bertels, CEO of Bluebee, is delighted to work with HL Steam, a London-based team who are taking a unique data-centric approach to market integrity in financial markets.

The two companies complement each other’s expertise in hardware and software, and form an ideal fit for BlueBee to prove the possibility of a significant increase in computing performance, by making FPGA available to big data applications in finance.

For further information please contact:

Prof. Koen Bertels, CEO BlueBee
Minderbroerstraat 26
2611 MV Delft
The Netherlands

Stefan Hendrickx, CEO HL Steam
The Generator Business Centre
Unit 13, 95 Miles Road
London CR4 3FH
United Kingdom
+44 20 8408 1610

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