Micron’s Automata Processor (AP) is a reconfigurable processing architecture that enables programmers to easily exploit massive parallelism. The AP is purpose-built to address the processing challenges associated with graph analysis, pattern matching, and data analytics.
Many of today’s most difficult computing problems require petabyte-scale search and analysis on unstructured data, which may be text or other symbolic data. This class of computation is not handled well by traditional CPU and memory system architectures; it requires a fundamentally new approach to computing.
A New Approach
The Automata Processor (AP) is a completely new architecture for regular expression acceleration, including analysis, statistics, and logic operations. It scales to tens of thousands, even millions of processing elements for the largest challenges, with energy efficiency far greater than traditional CPUs and GPUs with a much easier programming model for parallel processing.
The AP adds new thrust to this class of computing. It’s a disruptive acceleration technology that can dramatically improve throughput in many Big Data application domains. An ecosystem is already forming around the technology. The SDK allows modular macros to be created, perfected, and replicated, enabling collaborative re-use in increasing scales of parallelism.
The Automata Processor is currently provided as a PCIe card that plugs into a standard server. Designed for complex, unstructured data streams, such as text or other symbolic data, the processor leverages Micron’s expertise in the intrinsic parallelism of DRAM architectures to provide uniquely fast and highly scalable throughput, plus extreme cost-effectiveness and energy-efficiency.
It has a linear-scalable, two-dimensional MISD fabric comprised of thousands of interconnected symbol processing elements. What is unique is that each incoming symbol is accessed by all of the compute elements in the huge array on every clock edge.
Combining simultaneous delivery of input symbols with single-clock-cycle processing enables predictable, finite execution time and massive throughput. The PCIe board form factor makes it easy to provision rack mounted or standard servers with this new technology.
The Automata Processor is the world's first immensely parallel architecture optimized for big data search and analysis.
Next-generation genetic sequencing systems are creating a huge amount of fragmented data that have to be analyzed and re-assembled. Follow-on genetic analysis is computationally challenging as well.
Malicious hackers and IT defenders are in an arms race. Much higher speeds for deep-packet inspection are required, along with more complex signature analysis.
Text data mining and analysis in computational finance is a key input to algorithmic trading. Breaking news and sentiment analysis derived from millions of sources requires near real-time computation.
Unstructured textual data from e-commerce, social media, and other sources is growing exponentially. Specialized pattern-analysis accelerators, with vastly lower power and cost, are a vital solution for a variety of other big data domains.
The Automata Processor Software Development Kit (AP SDK)
- Development and debug environment
- A simulator for hundreds and even thousands of Automata units
Development and Debug
Unlike competing simulators, it operates at speeds that make a normal software development cycle pratical
The tools give you a “white box” view of the operations, including
- Dead-end paths
- Performance bottlenecks
- Graph configuration errors
- Integrated with AP Workbench
- Converts regular expressions to AP networks as new macros in your Workbench project
- Design validations for a deep level of analysis
- AP network graph optimization, even across processors
- Merge common sections
- Automatically prune unused or dead-end portions of the graph
Advanced place-and-route system
- Maximum utilization of chip resources
- Maximum performance
Additionally, there will be code examples, templates, and vertical market code-generators to further speed AP code development. For example, a code generator for protein matching has already been developed in the field of bioinformatics.
In addition to its core software development tools such as compilers, Micron has established partnerships with third party developers to provide a strong and comprehensive tool chain for the Automata Processor, including software partners such as Ciklum.