New Regular Expressions on Old Accelerators

Jackson Woodruff, Michael F.P. O'Boyle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Regular expressions (regexes) play a key role in a wide range of systems including network intrusion detection. FPGA accelerators can provide power savings over CPUs by exploiting MISD parallelism inherent in regex processing. However, FPGA solutions are brittle, requiring hours to reprogram when rulesets change, while real-world security threats evolve rapidly.

We present RXPSC (Regular eXPression Structural Compiler), a compiler designed to compile new regexes to existing regex accelerators. We use input-stream translation to enable fixed FPGA accelerators to accelerate new patterns with minimal overhead and little update delay. Compared to a solution where new regexes run on a CPU, RXPSC reduces CPU load by more than a factor of ten for 84% of unseen regexes in ANMLZoo benchmarks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 58th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-3274-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-3275-7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2021
Event58th Design Automation Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 5 Dec 20219 Dec 2021

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0738-100X


Conference58th Design Automation Conference
Abbreviated titleDAC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address


  • regular expressions
  • accelerator
  • compiler


Dive into the research topics of 'New Regular Expressions on Old Accelerators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this