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Project Catapult

An FPGA-based reconfigurable fabric for large-scale datacenters

Row of server stacksProject Catapult is a Microsoft venture that investigates the use of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to improve performance, reduce power consumption, and provide new capabilities in the datacenter. We have designed an FPGA board that plugs into the Microsoft-designed server that was released publically as the Open CloudServer V1.

Project Catapult started as a collaboration between Microsoft Research and Bing. Project Catapult improved the operations per second of a critical component of Bing’s search engine by nearly a factor of two. Many other applications and services can be accelerated as well. The bottom line for datacenters is more throughput and lower latencies, translating to lower power and cost, higher quality results, or a combination of both

Catapult board with Altera FPGACatapult board with Altera FPGAHow will you use Project Catapult?

In partnership with the Texas Advanced Computing Center at University of Texas at Austin, access to Project Catapult-equipped clusters will be available in the fall. 

Submit a one-page proposal to on how you plan to use Project Catapult to access boards, tools, and potentially, a Project Catapult-equipped datacenter cluster.


In the following video, Larry Larsen speaks with Doug Burger about the findings of Microsoft Research Project Catapult, which equipped servers with reconfigurable hardware, in the form of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), to accelerate datacenter services. Based on the success of the pilot, Bing will roll out FPGA-enhanced servers in one datacenter to process customer searches starting in early 2015.

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Academic program liaisons

Derek Chiou

Derek Chiou


Team members