Benchmark of MCEuropeanEngine


This is a benchmark of MC (Monte-Carlo) European Engine using the Xilinx Vitis environment to compare with QuantLib. It supports software and hardware emulation as well as running the hardware accelerator on the Alveo U250.

This example resides in L2/benchmarks/MCEuropeanEngine directory. The tutorial provides a step-by-step guide that covers commands for build and runging kernel.

Executable Usage

  • Work Directory(Step 1)

The steps for library download and environment setup can be found in Vitis Quantitative_Finance Library. For getting the design,

cd L2/benchmarks/MCEuropeanEngine
  • Build kernel(Step 2)

Run the following make command to build your XCLBIN and host binary targeting a specific device. Please be noticed that this process will take a long time, maybe couple of hours.

source /opt/xilinx/Vitis/2021.1/
source /opt/xilinx/xrt/
export DEVICE=/opt/xilinx/platforms/xilinx_u250_xdma_201830_2/xilinx_u250_xdma_201830_2.xpfm
export TARGET=hw
make run
  • Run kernel(Step 3)

To get the benchmark results, please run the following command.

./build_dir.hw.xilinx_u250_xdma_201830_2/test.exe -xclbin build_dir.hw.xilinx_u250_xdma_201830_2/kernel_mc.xclbin -rep 1000

Input Arguments:

Usage: test.exe    -[-xclbin -rep]
       -xclbin     MCEuropeanEngine binary;
       -rep        repeat number;

Note: Default num_rep(repeat number) is set in host code. For sw_emu, num_rep is cu_number*3; for hw_emu, num_rep is cu_number; for hw, the default value is 1, user could reset num_rep by paramter rep. As this case is a 4CU design, cu_number is 4.

  • Example output(Step 4)


The application scenario in this case is:

Table 22 Application Scenario
Option Type put
strike 40
underlying 36
risk-free rate 6%
volatility 20%
dividend yield 0
maturity 1 year
tolerance 0.02
workload 1 steps, 47000 paths

The performance comparison of the MCEuropeanEngine is shown in the table below, where timesteps is 1, requiredSamples is 16383, and FPGA frequency is 250MHz. The execution time is the average of 1000 runs. Our cold run has 380X and warm run has 1521X compared to baseline. Baseline is Quantlib, a Widely Used C++ Open Source Library, running on platform with 2 Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2690 v4 @3.20GHz, 8 cores per processor and 2 threads per core.

Table 23 Timing_Performance
Platform Execution time
cold run warm run
QuantLib 1.15 on CentOS 20.155ms 20.155ms
Runtime on U250 0.053ms 0.01325ms
Accelaration Ratio 380X 1521X


What is cold run and warm run?

  • Cold run means to run one application on board 1 time.
  • Warm run means to run the application multiple times on board. The E2E is calculated as the average time of multiple runs.

The resource utilization and performance of MCEuropeanEngine on U250 FPGA card is listed in the following tables (with Vivado 2021.1). There are 4CUs on Alveo U250 to pricing the option in parallel. Each CU have the same resource utilization.

Table 24 Resource utilization report of European Option APIs on U250
Implemetation Kernels LUT FF BRAM URAM DSP
4 CUs kernel_mc_0 (UN config:8) kernel_mc_1 (UN config:8) kernel_mc_2 (UN config:8) kernel_mc_3 (UN config:8) 936288 1504828 196 0 6376
total resource of board 1728000 3456000 2688 1280 12288
utilization ratio (not include platform) 54.18% 43.54% 7.29% 0 51.88%

Table 24 gives the resource utilization report of four MCEuropeanEngine CUs. Note that the resource statistics are under specific UN (Unroll Number) configurations. These UN configurations are the templated parameters of the corresponding API.

The complete Vitis demo of MCEuropeanEngine is executed with a U250 card on Nimbix. The performance of this demo is listed in Table 25. In this table, kernel execution time and end-to-end execution time (E2E) are calculated.

Table 25 Performance of European Option on U250
Engine Frequency Execution Time (ms)
kernel E2E
4 CUs 250MHz 7.1ms (1000 loop) 53ms (1000 loop)

Because only one output data is transferred from device to host for each CU, The kernel execution time doesn’t differentiate so much to E2E time.

In order to maximize the resource utilization on FPGA, four MCEuropeaEngine CUs are placed on different SLRs on U250. Due to place and route on FPGA, the kernel runs at 250MHz finally.


Analyzation of the execution time of MCEuropeanEngine

There are 4 CUs. Each CU could execution one application at one time. When there are multiple applications, they are distributed on different CUs and could be executed at the same time. So the warm run time is 1/4 of the cold run.