Elastic-DF: Scaling Performance of DNN Inference in FPGA Clouds through Automatic Partitioning

Tobias Alonso, Lucian Petrica, Mario Ruiz, Jakoba Petri-Koenig, Yaman Umuroglu, Ioannis Stamelos, Elias Koromilas, Michaela Blott, Kees Vissers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Customized compute acceleration in the datacenter is key to the wider roll-out of applications based on deep neural network (DNN) inference. In this article, we investigate how to maximize the performance and scalability of field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based pipeline dataflow DNN inference accelerators (DFAs) automatically on computing infrastructures consisting of multi-die, network-connected FPGAs. We present Elastic-DF, a novel resource partitioning tool and associated FPGA runtime infrastructure that integrates with the DNN compiler FINN. Elastic-DF allocates FPGA resources to DNN layers and layers to individual FPGA dies to maximize the total performance of the multi-FPGA system. In the resulting Elastic-DF mapping, the accelerator may be instantiated multiple times, and each instance may be segmented across multiple FPGAs transparently, whereby the segments communicate peer-to-peer through 100 Gbps Ethernet FPGA infrastructure, without host involvement. When applied to ResNet-50, Elastic-DF provides a 44% latency decrease on Alveo U280. For MobileNetV1 on Alveo U200 and U280, Elastic-DF enables a 78% throughput increase, eliminating the performance difference between these cards and the larger Alveo U250. Elastic-DF also increases operating frequency in all our experiments, on average by over 20%. Elastic-DF therefore increases performance portability between different sizes of FPGA and increases the critical throughput per cost metric of datacenter inference.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages34
JournalACM Transactions on Reconfigurable Technology and Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Deep neural networks
  • distributed inference
  • partitioning


Dive into the research topics of 'Elastic-DF: Scaling Performance of DNN Inference in FPGA Clouds through Automatic Partitioning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this