Imagine: Media Processing Using Streams

Wednesday, November 1, 2000 - 17:30
TH 331
John Owens Stanford University

The Imagine Stream processor is a high-performance, power-efficient, programmable signal and image processor that achieves the performance density of special-purpose processors. This talk will highlight the key features of the Imagine Stream Architecture: large amounts of available arithmetic bandwidth, an area-efficient and power-efficient stream register organization, and a data bandwidth hierarchy which effectively manages data communication. By casting media applications into the stream programming model, they are able to take advantage of these architecture characteristics.

A prototype Imagine stream processor being designed at Stanford is targeted to operate at 500MHz with a die size of less than 1cm^2 when fabricated in a 0.15 micron process. With a peak performance of 20 GFLOPs on floating-point applications and over 40 GOPS on integer applications, a single Imagine processor sustains 19.2 GOPS on MPEG encoding. Other media applications perform similarly. This significantly outperforms modern high-performance processors and digital signal rocessors, while achieving power efficiencies competitive with special-purpose embedded processors.


John Owens is a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He is one of the architects of the Imagine stream processor and is coadvised by Bill Dally and Pat Hanrahan. He previously worked on the Lightning distributed framebuffer at Stanford, consulted at Interval Research Corporation, and has interned at SGI, Intel, Sun, and Oracle. John has a BS in EECS from the University of California, Berkeley (1995), a MS in EE from Stanford (1997), and hopes to graduate in the next year.