Accelerating Mobile Applications At The Network Edge With Software-Programmable FPGAs

Shuang Jiang Peking University, P.R. China
Dong He Fudan University, P.R. China
Chenxi Yang Fudan University, P.R. China
Chenren Xu Peking University, P.R. China
Guojie Luo Peking University, P.R. China
Yang Chen Fudan University, P.R. China
Yunlu Liu Beihang University, P.R. China
Jiangwei Jiang Alibaba Inc., P.R. China


Recently, Edge Computing has emerged as a new computing paradigm dedicated for mobile applications for performance enhancement and energy efficiency purposes. Specifically, it benefits today's interactive applications on power-constrained devices by offloading compute-intensive tasks to the edge nodes which is in close proximity. Meanwhile, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is well known for its excellence in accelerating compute-intensive tasks such as deep learning algorithms in a high performance and energy efficiency manner due to its hardware-customizable nature. In this paper, we make the first attempt to leverage and combine the advantages of these two, and proposed a new network-assisted computing model, namely FPGA-based edge computing. As a case study, we choose three computer vision (CV)-based interactive mobile applications, and implement their backend computation parts on FPGA. By deploying such application-customized accelerator modules for computation offloading at the network edge, we experimentally demonstrate that this approach can effectively reduce response time for the applications and energy consumption for the entire system in comparison with traditional CPU-based edge/cloud offloading approach.

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