Intel® FPGA SDK for OpenCL™ Pro Edition: Programming Guide

ID 683846
Date 12/13/2021

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5.5.6. Direct Communication with Kernels via Host Pipes

The cl_intel_fpga_host_pipe extension enables point-to-point pipe communication between a kernel and the host program. Without the extension, pipes within OpenCL can only be used to communicate between kernels, and not with the host program directly.
Note: A BSP with support for host pipes is required to use the cl_intel_fpga_host_pipe extension. Without the BSP support, the clCreatePipe call fails. You can use the a10gx_hostpipe board variant in the a10_ref BSP for Intel® Arria® 10 GX Development Kit with host pipes. If you are using a custom BSP, consult your board vendor for support for host pipes.

The extension provides two new values in the flags argument of clCreatePipe to make a pipe host accessible, and adds four new API functions (clReadPipeIntelFPGA, clWritePipeIntelFPGA, clMapHostPipeIntelFPGA, and clUnmapHostPipeIntelFPGA) to allow the host to read from and write to a pipe that was created with host access enabled. A new optional kernel argument attribute is added to specify in the kernel language that the opposing end of a pipe kernel argument is the host program, and consequently that the pipe is not connected to another kernel. A pipe kernel argument is specialized in the kernel definition to connect to either a host pipe or another kernel, and cannot dynamically switch between the two at runtime.

When a pipe kernel argument is marked for host accessibility, the kernel language pipe accessors are restricted to a subset of the 2.x functions (reservations are not supported), and memory consistency or visibility guarantees are made beyond OpenCL™ synchronization points.

Support for host accessible pipes is a device property, advertised as cl_intel_fpga_host_pipe.
  • Data written to a host pipe is eventually made visible on the read side without any OpenCL synchronization point.
  • A restriction of our implementation of host pipes is that the platform only supports two host pipes. One for read and one for write. Furthermore, the compiler accepts a pipe of only 32-bytes width, and hence ulong4 is used in the Example Use of cl_intel_fpga_host_pipe Extension section.
  • Host programs using the cl_intel_fpga_host_pipe extension must include the CL/cl_ext_intelfpga.h header file and enable OpenCL 2.0 support, as described in Support Statuses of OpenCL 2.0 Features.

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