Chidamber Kulkarni - rENIAC, FPGAs & Database Acceleration #50


Chidamber has been working on various aspects of FPGA technology for 16+ years now. In the last 5-6 years his primary focus has been acceleration of database and related technologies. Chidamber is a founder & CTO of Reniac Inc, a company that specializes in database acceleration with FPGAs.

Prior to Reniac, Chidamber was at Xilinx for 9 years as a design engineer.

Chidamber has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Katholieke, a research university in Belgium.

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Episode Summary

“We are getting larger and larger chips. But the power density is something that has been almost constant for the last 5 or 7 years. That has been a limitation, and that’s why they started scaling the number of cores in one chip. GPUs did that almost 10 years before the processors and the reason they had to do it is because they discovered parallelism in rendering. So they already had  64 cores and 128 cores by the time the uni-core became the dual core.”

“So there’s literally 100 X that you can get with FPGAs. But the effort required to realize that implementation today is still quite high. The challenge for FPGA vendors is how to make that programming easier.”

“Skill is very important, but I think skill can be learned. What cannot be transplanted easily is aptitude and motivation.”

—Chidamber Kulkarni

In this episode we’ll cover:

  1. Why did Chidamber leave academia for the FPGA space?
  2. What is the difference between CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs?
  3. When did Chidamber start rENIAC? Why did he choose to dive into accelerating open source databases?

Key Milestones

Additional Resources

Learn more about field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) -

Learn more about Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) -

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