DornerWorks

Using Xilinx Vitis To Streamline ML Algorithm Implementation

Posted on October 6, 2020 by Matthew Russell

Imagine a world where technology for humans doesn’t require humans to operate. Where data is analyzed in industrial, automotive, and even medical settings by the machines themselves. And where factory line workers, long-haul truckers, and surgeons are not obsolete but more efficient and more capable than ever before.

As the nexus of human and cyber physical cognition, Machine Learning systems are taking us into the fifth industrial revolution. And the Xilinx Vitis Unified Software Platform is making it easier for companies to integrate Machine Learning features into their products.

What is the Vitis Unified Software Platform?

Xilinx spent 5 years on the Vitis suite, which combines software and hardware development toolsets into a single workflow.

The Xilinx Versal board is a powerful solution for Machine Learning platforms and AI engines. Developers can use Vitis to implement those systems on the device.
The Xilinx Versal board is a powerful solution for Machine Learning platforms and AI engines. Developers can use Vitis
to implement those systems on the device.

Developers can use this toolset to translate common software languages like Python, C++ and others into hardware acceleration cores before dropping those onto hardware. Among other versatile features of the suite, Vitis AI expands support to TensorFlow, Caffe, and PyTorch frameworks while Vitis Video enables cloud-based video processing engines using FFmpeg.

The Vitis toolset may challenge developers who are exclusively familiar with hardware or software environments, but the training materials provided by Xilinx offer a unique hands-on approach to proficiency.

What does a Machine Learning platform built with Vitis look like?

DornerWorks FPGA Design Architect Corrin Meyer is developing a demonstration of Vitis’ capability by using it to deploy Xilinx Machine Learning IP onto an Avnet Ultra96 board with a Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC that supports a single camera stream via a mezzanine board. Companies can use this custom shell project to accelerate prototyping or optimizing their own algorithms. And with the Xilinx Vitis and HLS tools, developers can write those algorithms in software, translate the code into a hardware acceleration core, and drop it right onto their hardware without ever having to touch VHDL or Verilog.

As a Xilinx Alliance Program Premier Partner, DornerWorks engineers work with a range of state-of-the-art Xilinx devices including Versal, RFSoC and MPSoC. Our next milestone, after completing the Ultra96 demo, will be to use Vitis to deploy a similar combination of Xilinx Machine Learning and video processing IP onto a Xilinx ZCU102 Development Kit.

On a Xilinx ZCU102 Development Kit, the DornerWorks Machine Learning Demo could enable four video pipelines at once.
On a Xilinx ZCU102 Development Kit, the DornerWorks Machine Learning Demo could enable four video pipelines at once.

In combination with a mezzanine card, the ZCU102 platform will enable four video pipelines to run through video processing algorithms simultaneously.

“With this setup you can process four data streams rather than just the one,” Meyer says. “And they can do whatever they want on those: simple video processing such as debayering, filtering, or color space conversion; or entire machine learning algorithms to enable object detection or tracking.”

Just drop your own acceleration cores in using Xilinx HLS and Vitis, and you’re good to go.

What do I need for my Machine Learning platform?

The Xilinx Vitis Unified Software Platform toolset will help you implement your algorithm on a number of state-of-the-art Xilinx devices. But going it alone can be risky. If you want to accelerate that development with a trusted partner, DornerWorks can help you understand the implications of implementing in hardware, provide you with a custom shell project ready for your algorithm and help you use Vitis to deploy it.

Schedule a meeting with us today and turn your Machine Learning ideas into reality.

Matthew Russell
by Matthew Russell
Marketing Specialist
Matthew Russell is a marketing specialist at DornerWorks.