This talk introduces the emerging P4 ecosystem and describes novel research in targeting FPGAs with the P4 language. P4 is a hardware-agnostic, domain-specific language for network devices, specifying how the data plane should process packets. It is a new and developing standard that is gaining adoption across academia and industry, with P4 compiler toolchains targeting a wide range of commercial network hardware. Effectively mapping a P4 program to a given hardware or software target presents a complex optimization problem and is an active area of research. This programmability enables the user of a network device to customize its behavior for their use case. This innate flexibility is an ideal match for Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), which offer high-performance, inherently customizable programmable logic. A P4 compiler that can target FPGAs has the potential to expand the accessibility of this predominantly hardware-oriented technology to a wide range of non-RTL experts.
Pavel Benáček received his Ph.D. in computer science at the Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Information Technology for an automatic translation of P4 language into the RTL description of network device. Pavel’s interest is Hardware/Software Co-Design of high-speed network devices and parallel processing.
He was working as a researcher at CESNET with focus on hardware acceleration in the area of computer networks using FPGAs. Pavel is currently working as a compiler and SoC Engineer in Intel PSG group.
The talk briefly summarizes the outcomes and challenges in research and technology innovation in these areas:
Tomáš Martinec received his Bc. in computer science for Charles University, Prague (2013) and since then he is employed in Sysgo where he assumes the role of a verification engineer. His focus there has been mainly in certifying software components for safety-critical applications (DO178C, ...). He occasionally handles also security aspects of certification and manages cooperation with the academic sector in Czech Republic.
He has followed a modest academic path by contributing to a few papers on the topics of measurement and modeling of software performance in the research group of Department of Distributed and Dependable Systems, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University.
Besides his main employment in Sysgo he is the owner of Metio Software, a small software development company that gradually gets specialized in cybersecurity of embedded or IoT computer systems. Also, he is the managing partner in the Institute for Support of Innovative Education, a non-governmental organization that is supporting applications of novel or alternative pedagogic approaches in primary and secondary levels of education. His domain there lies in innovations of education and schooling that relates to industrial or technology-oriented professions.