RISC-V and xDSL research at HiPEAC 2024

22 January 2024

Nick Brown reviews EPCC's activities at HiPEAC, a European forum for computing systems researchers, industry representatives, and students.

The HiPEAC conference targets a range of computing, including high performance, embedded, edge and novel architectures, and a wide range of technical topics were explored and discussed, with support from many of the major vendors. The three-day event was held in Munich this year,

I attended to give a talk as part of the RISC-V workshop on the first day. With the room packed, and speakers including representatives from RISC-V International, vendors such as Esperanto, Rivos and Ventana, and academic projects, it was a fantastic showcase of the significant momentum that RISC-V is gaining in high-end computing.


It is this rapid pace of change that I explored in my talk. I introduced the RISC-V testbed that we host in EPCC (funded by the ExCALIBUR H&ES programme) and reflected on how quickly the RISC-V hardware and software ecosystems have developed over the past 18 months or so, from struggling to find physical hardware at the beginning to now providing access to 64-core SG2042 RISC-V CPUs. I summarised some of our recent work to benchmark the SG2042 against other RISC-V devices and x86 (see https://browse.arxiv.org/pdf/2309.00381.pdf for more details), and shared how this fits into the wider UK HPC strategy.

Photo shows man at podium beside presentation on screen

Tobias Grosser presents work done in xDSL.

xDSL project

My talk at the RISC-V workshop was not the only activity at HiPEAC related to EPCC projects. Tobias Grosser, formally at the School of Informatics in Edinburgh, leads the xDSL project that EPCC is also involved in, and he gave an invited talk at the PARMA-DITAM workshop. 

Tobias' talk explored how the work done in xDSL enables easy use of MLIR from Python, how this enables the consolidation of Domain Specific Language (DSL) ecosystems (specifically PSyclone and Devito), and how some of the work done in the project is in the process of being fed back to the wider MLIR community.

Overall, HiPEAC was a busy but highly enjoyable conference, I saw many old friends and enjoyed the wide range of technical subjects that were explored. The challenge I always find is that I come away from such conferences with so many new ideas, but the same limited time to be able to explore and execute them!


HiPEAC 2024 website: https://www.hipeac.net/2024/munich

ExCALIBUR H&ES RISC-V testbed: https://riscv.epcc.ed.ac.uk

xDSL project: www.xdsl.dev


Dr Nick Brown
Nick Brown