The federal money is part of the government's effort to push the development of exascale computing, which officials say is crucial to scientific research and economic growth.
Advanced Micro Devices is getting $12.6
million as part of the federal governments larger push toward exascale
The money to AMD is part of the federal
Extreme-Scale Computing Research and Development Program, known as
FastForward. The program is jointly funded by the Department of Energys
(DOEs) Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration and
is aimed at creating partnerships between technology companies, academic
institutions and the government to speed up the development of the technology
that will lead to exascale computing.
Officials with tech firms and the government
see exascale computing as a key next step in not only the high-performance
computing (HPC) space, but a critical component of future scientific and
defense research and a catalyst for future economic growth.
Exascale supercomputers are expected to be
faster than existing petaflop supercomputers, offering
the speed and computing power required for increasingly complex workloads.
Applications such as modeling regional climate change or simulating the effects
of a new drug on the human heart require computers with the capacity to rapidly
process enormous volumes of data. The most advanced applications are beyond the
capability of todays commercially available computers.
Officials at tech firms have said that
exascale computing should come by the end of the decade.
Exascale computing has become a goal of both
the government and tech companies. President Barack Obama last year pushed
for $126 million
in the 2012 federal budget for the DOE for exascale
computing. During a keynote address in November 2011 at the SC 11
supercomputing conference, Nvidia
President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang
called exascale computing "the next
frontier for our industry, and said a key challenge will be power efficiency.
Supercomputing is now power-limited, just
like a cell phone, just like a tablet," Huang said. "This is our gravity.
¦ Energy efficiency is our single critical imperative."
The $12.6 million that AMD was awarded July
11 will focus on two areas, according to officials with the chip maker. About
$9.6 million will be used for processor-related research, with the other $3
million targeting memory-related research.
This award from the DOE will fund critical
research and development required to enable high-performance, power-efficient
exascale systems, Alan Lee, AMDs corporate vice president of research and
advanced development, said in a statement. Additionally, AMD will undertake
work to drive advances in memory bandwidth and communication speed, which are
essential for heterogeneous architecture, exascale-class supercomputers with
thousands of processors.
AMD officials have been pushing to make their
Opteron server chips a larger presence in the HPC systems space, including
ramping up the core count and improving the power consumption. AMD processors
are in 24 of the worlds 100 fastest supercomputers, according to the
latest Top500 list
last month. That includes the sixth-fastest system, the Jaguar supercomputer at
the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Jaguar is an Opteron-based XK6
supercomputer from Cray.
The DOE announced last fall that 19,200
Opteron 6200 chips will be used when Cray upgrades the Jaguar supercomputer, a
system that will be named
. Scheduled to be fully operational next year, Titan is expected to
offer a peak performance of more than 20 petaflops. A petaflop equals 1
quadrillion floating-point calculations per second.
A DOE official said working with tech
companies like AMD will be crucial in the development of exascale computing.
A key to successfully developing
next-generation HPC capabilities is bringing together the know-how and best
minds of industry leaders and national labs to work on this grand challenge,
Thuc Hoang of DOEs National Nuclear Security Administration said in a