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Having your cake and eating it: Exploiting Python for programmer productivity and performance on micro-core architectures using ePython

Maurice Jamieson
EPCC at the University of Edinburgh

Nick Brown
EPCC at the University of Edinburgh

Sihang Liu
EPCC at the University of Edinburgh


Micro-core architectures combine many simple, low memory, low power computing cores together in a single package. These can be used as a co-processor or standalone but due to limited on-chip memory and esoteric nature of the hardware, writing efficient parallel codes for these chips is challenging. In this paper we discuss our very low memory implementation of Python, ePython, supporting the rapid development of parallel Python codes for these co-processors. An offload abstraction is introduced, where programmers decorate specific functions in their Python code, running under any Python interpreter on the host CPU, with the underlying technology then taking care of the low level data movement, scheduling and ePython execution on the micro-core co-processor. A benchmark solving Laplace's equation for diffusion via Jacobi iteration is used to explore the performance of ePython on three different micro-core architectures, and introduces work around native compilation for micro-cores and the performance advantages that this can provide.


ePython, micro-cores, RISC-V, MicroBlaze, PicoRV32, Epiphany



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