2018 OpenPOWER/CAPI and OpenCAPI Heterogeneous Computing Design Contest – Build Your Own Super Processor

Organized by IBM China, IPS (Inspur Power Commercial System), The OpenPOWER Foundation, the OpenCAPI Consortium and Fudan University Microelectronics College, 2018 CAPI/OpenCAPI heterogeneous computing design contest begins July 6th.

The objective of the contest is to encourage universities and scientific research institutions to understand the advanced technology of FPGA heterogeneous computing on the OpenPOWER system and prepare applications for technological innovation. The participants will have the opportunity to cooperate with members of the OpenPOWER Foundation, the OpenCAPI Consortium to develop  prototypes on a OpenPOWER platform while receiving technical guidance from from sponsor companies experts.

The contest is sponsored by OpenPOWER Foundation members Shenzhen Semptian data Limited., Mellanox Technologies, Nallatech (a Molex company) and Xilinx, Inc,


Heterogeneous Computing is a system that uses more than one processor. This multi-core system not only enhances the performance of the processor core, but also incorporates specialized processing capabilities, such as GPU or FPGA, to work on specific tasks.

In recent years, as the silicon chip approaches physical and economic cost limits, Moore’s law is dead.  The rapid development of the Internet, the explosive growth of information and the popularization of AI technology have highly increased the demand for computing power. Heterogeneous computing, the focus is not only limited to the improvement of CPU performance, but to break the bottleneck of data transmission between CPU and peripherals, and to allow more hardware devices to participate in computing, such as using dedicated hardware to be responsible for intensive computing or peripherals management, which can significantly improve the performance of the whole system. There is no doubt that heterogeneous computing is the main direction of improving computing power.

Participants in the OpenCAPI heterogeneous computing design competition can achieve insight by utilizing and optimizing the most advanced technology available through OpenPOWER architecture. This competition will provide an opportunity to create breakthrough technologies and for enterprise and research workloads. 

Contest Rules

The contest will begin on July 6th with submissions due by Nov. 23rd.   The winner will be announced publically at the OpenPOWER China Summit 2018 in December in Beijing.  Announcement date yet to be determined 

In preliminaries, participants will submit a solution proposal of a FPGA accelerator based on CAPI/OpenCAPI technology on OpenPOWER systems. The accelerator can serve any workload that requires high computing power or big data transaction bandwidth.  Ten winners of preliminaries will be selected and awarded funds to support them moving on to the final.

In final, participants will develop a prototype of their solution proposed in real development environment. Sponsors will provide them with OpenPOWER systems + CAPI/OpenCAPI enabled FPGA cards as well as technical expects that will provide coding and debugging skills for the CAPI development framework.


Schedule Time Content
Preliminary 7/6-8/15 Enroll and submit proposal
8/16-8/26 Expert Review
8/27 Announce Top 10 for Final
Final 8/27-11/23 Prototype development and submission for final
11/24-11/29 Expert Review
(TBD) Final Thesis Oral Defense and Award Ceremony

Audiences and Enroll

College students from China universities and research institutes, who are interested in the CAPI/OpenCAPI technology are welcome to join.  They are also welcome to join the OpenPOWER Foundation at the Associate or Academic Level for free (https://openpowerfoundation.org/membership/levels/)

Click More information to get to know more of the contest.

Click Enroll for enrollment

Messages from Organizers and Sponsors

Waiming Wu,

General Manager,


With the ever increasing demand for computing power today, OpenPOWER based on IBM POWER processor and Linux technology has attracted more and more attention from customers, developers and business partners. OpenPOWER systems, with its excellent computing and processing capabilities are ideal for AI, big data and cloud platforms. The OpenCAPI technology used in OpenPOWER systems support heterogeneous computing such that innovation in accelerators could be quickly integrated with POWER processor to provide the next level of computing performance. The new concept of heterogeneous computing based on collaboration between CPU and accelerators heralds a new computing era.

We are pleased to see the announcement and roll out of “The OpenCAPI + OpenPOWER Heterogeneous Computing Contest” for universities and research institutions. The OpenPOWER Foundation & OpenCAPI Consortium, Fudan University and many members of OpenPOWER actively support this activity. This is the best demonstration of the support from academic and corporate community in technological innovation. In IBM we will also do our best to co-organize this event and to contribute developing talents and innovative solutions.

We are also grateful to the technical experts at IBM China System Lab. Under this Contest, they will share the leading technology to the competing teams through in-depth technology seminars, carefully prepared technical documents and the upcoming one-to-one expert support, and of course great technical mentorship.

Hugh Blemings

Executive Director

OpenPOWER Foundation


At the OpenPOWER Foundation we’re delighted to see our members like Mellanox, Nallatech, Semptian, Xilinx and of course IBM working together in the “OpenCAPI + OpenPOWER Contest”. CAPI/OpenCAPI is a key part of the great Open system that OpenPOWER represents and a leading high speed interconnect for Accelerators and Interconnects alike.
Our Members, working with some great universities and research institutions in China will provide both an opportunity for people to learn about CAPI/OpenCAPI and to see solutions to real world problems solved faster using innovative OpenPOWER hardware and software.
We’re looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas the contestants come up with and, of course, congratulating the winners at the OpenPOWER Summit in Beijing in December.  We wish all involved the very best! 

Yujing Jiang,

Marketing Director,

Inspur Power Commercial Systems Co., Ltd



Inspur Power Commercial Systems Co., Ltd. is a platinum member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, committed to co-build an open OpenPOWER ecosystem, developing servers based on open Power technology, improving server ecosystems, building a sustainable server business and providing users with advanced, differentiated and diverse computing platforms and solutions. Inspur Power Systems insist on openness and integration for continuous development of heterogeneous computing architecture based on CAPI. CAPI heterogeneous computing breaks the ‘computing walls’, enhances massive parallel data processing capabilities and provides more effective and powerful data resources for image and video, deep learning and database. CAPI heterogeneous computing also provides extremely high data transmission bandwidth, defines a more flexible data storage method, and greatly improves server IO capabilities.

Inspur Power Systems will provide OpenPOWER based datacenter server FP5280G2 as the platform for the contest to verify and test the works. It is the first P9 platform in China, designed for cloud computing, big data, deep learning optimization. It is optimized in performance, extension and storage. The standalone FP5280G2 provides the leading PCIe Gen4 (16Gbps) channel in the industry, and supports CAPI 2.0. We wish this new system will bring an effective support to the contest. And in the future, we can build more systems to enhance heterogeneous computing with more interconnection through CAPI technology between CPU to memory, network, I/O device etc and be widely applied to industry market. 

Yibo Fan,

Associate Professor,

Fudan University Microelectronics College, China

CAPI/OpenCAPI is an unique technology in OpenPOWER system, which provides a superior operating environment for FPGA heterogeneous computing design, especially eliminating the driver development process and providing the most convenient method for rapid chip IP prototype verification and the deployment of heterogeneous systems. Based on CAPI technology, our team launched a CAPI running example of open source H.265 video encoder. Through the technical cooperation in the project, we fully realized the innovative value of CAPI technology for heterogeneous computing. Hopefully by hosting this contest, we can contact more excellent teams and talents who study and master CAPI technology in peer universities, and promote CAPI/OpenCAPI technology further to universities and industries.


Qingchun Song,

Mellanox Technologies,

Asia & Pacific Marketing Director



As a member of OpenPOWER, Mellanox is pleased to be involved in the optimization of OpenCAPI. As a provider of intelligent end-to-end network products, Mellanox has always worked closely with x86 and POWER processor platforms. Mellanox intelligent network products has always been the best choice for the POWER platform.

In June 2018, Summit Supercomputer from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US, was released at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, It use the POWER CPU plus Mellanox’s InfiniBand network and it is now the fastest supercomputer and artificial intelligence computer in the world.

Mellanox network products currently support 100 GHz per second. Products with a speed of 200 GHz per end will be released into market in the next quarter. Better network speed requires the support of faster internal buses, and high speed OpenCAPI and 200G network products are an excellent match.

I hope that this OpenCAPI optimization contest can efficiently improve the performance of CAPI, and can realize the integration with RDMA technology, which truly realize the matching of internal network buses and external buses and help the next-generation data center. Finally, I wish the contest going smoothly, thank you.


Hao Li,

General Manager,

Semptian Data Co., Ltd



Many thanks to the organizers of the event for inviting Semptian to participate in 2018 OpenCAPI Heterogeneous Computing Design Contest. In recent years, the way of relying solely on CPU to improve computing performance has come to an end. At the same time, various applications, which are emerging rapidly, raise higher demand on computing ability and constantly challenge the performance limit. It has become a consensus in industry that through heterogeneous computing we can break the bottleneck of computing and data transmission.

As a senior corporation which has more than ten years of experience in the field of FPGA developing, Semptian believes that with the help of FPGAs’ advantage of high performance, low power consumption, flexibility and ease of use, combined with the special technical advantage of CAPI technology in OpenPOWER systems, processing specific computing through FPGA + CAPI + CPU is the best way to optimize computing performance, reduce acquisition and operation costs and meet the requirements of applications and power consumptions.

We are very glad to participate in this contest together with other members of the OpenPOWER alliance to expand the development of the alliance’s ecosystem. Hopefully through this contest, we can explore more application scenarios, like artificial intelligence inference, image and video acceleration and gene computing acceleration, to expand the application of heterogeneous computing.

 Fan Kui,

Account Sales Manager Nallatech


Nallatech and IBM have worked closely through the OpenPOWER Foundation to enable heterogeneous computing by way of CAPI1.0 & CAPI2.0  based FPGA Accelerators. Nallatech’s 250S FPGA Accelerator supports CAPI1.0 and the 250S+ supports CAPI2.0. Additionally the OpenPOWER Accelerator Workgroups ”CAPI SNAP Acceleration Framework”, is also supported on these cards. CAPI SNAP eases the development of Accelerator Function Units, AFUs, within the FPGA in OpenPOWER systems. As you may very well know, FPGA computing is one of the leading technologies in the development of AI and Deep learning and is one of the most exciting advancements that will affect in how we live our lives.

We are all proud to sponsor such an aspirational and academic event with students of China that will boast amazing innovations in FPGA technology for future generations to come. Thank you for the opportunity of sponsoring your event. We wish you great fortune in this contest, as well as your career in FPGA Acceleration.