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Developers Drive DPU Evolution in the NVIDIA DOCA Hackathon

The recent DOCA Hackathon in Europe revealed streamlined innovation in video processing, storage solutions, and switching protocols using the BlueField DPU and DOCA SDK.

The third in a series of global NVIDIA DOCA Hackathons took place on March 21, during NVIDIA 2022 GTC. Competing in the event were 10 teams from a variety of universities, enterprises, and technology partners from across Europe and the Middle East. As part of GTC, NVIDIA CEO, Jensen Huang, gave a powerful keynote highlighting efforts in AI to supercharge industries including DPU and switching.

The recent Hackathon in Europe focused on BlueField DPU innovations that leverage the DOCA software framework to streamline the development process. Participants continue to find new ways to utilize the DPU for offloading, accelerating, and isolating a broad range of services. With DOCA, NVIDIA brings together APIs, drivers, libraries, sample code, documentation, services, and prepackaged containers for developers to speed up application development and deployment. 

“The NVIDIA Hackathon series enables participants to take a giant leap forward in their DPU application development. With direct access to DOCA training, mentors, preconfigured setups, documentation, and access to a working environment. These Hackathons help to accelerate application development that would have otherwise taken months for many organizations and play a significant role in establishing a strong DOCA developer community,” said Dror Goldenberg, SVP of Software Architecture at NVIDIA. “We continue to be very impressed with the creativity and ingenuity of all of our hackathon contestants and this competition was no exception!”

First Place

Team Thales from Theresis
Utilization of DPU for Storage Security

All 5 members of Team Thales celebrating their win
Figure 1. Members of the first-place team celebrate their win.

The Team Thales solution successfully used the BlueField DPU to create cyberdefense for files transmitted over the network. They used a combination of networking and storage security rules that delivered an overall performance improvement. The goal was to build upon the DPI acceleration to enable Yara rules, which are used for inspection of files downloaded from the network to identify malware and potential threats. To implement this, Team Thales used a Yara Parser to transform public Yara rules into DPI rules in a Suricata community-based format supported by the DOCA DPI lib. This solution leveraged DOCA DPI functionality to scan the files on the fly as the packets flow through the device.  

Second Place

Team RARE/FreeRTR from GÉANT
Router for Academia Research and Education Hardware accelerated MPLS 

FreeRTR Router is a Swiss army knife meant to be used as a primary router but can also be used as a specific appliance. The team evaluated accelerated DPDK and DOCA FLOW and enabled the routing functionality with multiple routing protocols on the DPU leveraging the large and programmable flow tables. As part of their planned innovation, the team also evaluated added services by linking DOCA libraries to provide additional functionality including Firewall, RegEx scanning, MACsec encryption, and DPI engine at line rate. This allowed Team Rare to create one control plane to rule all dataplanes.

Third Place

Team DOCA Seville from the University of Seville
Video processing at the edge

Team DOCA Seville used the BlueField DPU to filter out voided frames of CCTV streams, reducing the load on a CPU/GPU and improving physical security by providing detection of firearms. The intention is to prevent mass shootings by detecting the weapon. Removing images with no people significantly improves the overall system performance. Team DOCA Seville leveraged the DPU to offload the image processing and used DOCA gRPC infrastructure to stream filtered data for further analysis. 

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all of the teams that participated, making this round of NVIDIA DOCA Hackathon such a wonderful success!

NVIDIA is building a broad community of DOCA developers to create innovative applications and services on top of BlueField DPUs to secure and accelerate modern, efficient data centers. To learn more about joining the community, visit the DOCA developer web page or register to download DOCA today.

Up next is the NVIDIA DPU Hackathon in China. Check out our corporate calendar to stay informed of future events, and take part in our journey to reshape the data center of tomorrow. 

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