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Cover of the Spring 2010 issue




Reconfigurable hardware
for boosting computer performance

Katherine Compton

Katherine Compton view larger image

Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Katherine Compton is studying how to use reconfigurable hardware, which is a form of special-purpose hardware, to implement a wide range of computer accelerators that boost performance and increase energy efficiency. The hardware is flexible enough to allow developers to customize the accelerators to execute multiple applications. The CAREER award will allow Compton to expand to study the entire computer system and schedule multiple computing resources to work in tandem with the reconfigurable hardware. She is working to demonstrate to hardware companies that reconfigurable hardware provides enough of a boost to warrant adding it to everyday computing devices. “We’re looking at having potentially the same or faster processing speed, but with lower energy consumption,” she says.

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