GenASM: A High-Performance, Low-Power Approximate String Matching Acceleration Framework for Genome Sequence Analysis

16 Sep 2020  ·  Damla Senol Cali, Gurpreet S. Kalsi, Zülal Bingöl, Can Firtina, Lavanya Subramanian, Jeremie S. Kim, Rachata Ausavarungnirun, Mohammed Alser, Juan Gomez-Luna, Amirali Boroumand, Anant Nori, Allison Scibisz, Sreenivas Subramoney, Can Alkan, Saugata Ghose, Onur Mutlu ·

Genome sequence analysis has enabled significant advancements in medical and scientific areas such as personalized medicine, outbreak tracing, and the understanding of evolution. Unfortunately, it is currently bottlenecked by the computational power and memory bandwidth limitations of existing systems, as many of the steps in genome sequence analysis must process a large amount of data. A major contributor to this bottleneck is approximate string matching (ASM). We propose GenASM, the first ASM acceleration framework for genome sequence analysis. We modify the underlying ASM algorithm (Bitap) to significantly increase its parallelism and reduce its memory footprint, and we design the first hardware accelerator for Bitap. Our hardware accelerator consists of specialized compute units and on-chip SRAMs that are designed to match the rate of computation with memory capacity and bandwidth. We demonstrate that GenASM is a flexible, high-performance, and low-power framework, which provides significant performance and power benefits for three different use cases in genome sequence analysis: 1) GenASM accelerates read alignment for both long reads and short reads. For long reads, GenASM outperforms state-of-the-art software and hardware accelerators by 116x and 3.9x, respectively, while consuming 37x and 2.7x less power. For short reads, GenASM outperforms state-of-the-art software and hardware accelerators by 111x and 1.9x. 2) GenASM accelerates pre-alignment filtering for short reads, with 3.7x the performance of a state-of-the-art pre-alignment filter, while consuming 1.7x less power and significantly improving the filtering accuracy. 3) GenASM accelerates edit distance calculation, with 22-12501x and 9.3-400x speedups over the state-of-the-art software library and FPGA-based accelerator, respectively, while consuming 548-582x and 67x less power.

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