IBM, Nvidia Get $325 Million to Build 2 Supercomputers

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2014-11-14 Print this article Print
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A key technology that will first appear with Pascal and continue onto Volta is NVLink, a high-speed interconnect technology developed with IBM and first introduced in March that will enable CPUs and GPUs to exchange data five to 12 times faster than they can today. Currently, the speed is at about 16 Gb/s. With NVLink and its fatter pipe, that will jump to 80 Gb/s to 200 Gb/s, according to Gupta. The Volta GPUs will also include 3D Stacked Memory, which will increase throughput via four times higher bandwidth and three times larger capacity than current graphics chips, he said.

The technologies will enable the companies to create supercomputers that are smaller than their predecessors, yet offer significantly more performance. Summit will be about a fifth of the size of Titan, and consume about 10 percent more power, Gupta said.

The $100 million for FastForward 2 will be used to help create supercomputers that increase performance but remain energy- and cost-efficient. According to AMD CTO Mark Papermaster, the chip maker's focus will be on memory interfaces and the company's work around its accelerated-processing units (APUs) and Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA), which makes it easier to move workloads between CPUs and GPUs. Eventually the innovations from the research will make its way into future AMD products, Papermaster said in a post on the company blog.

The research by AMD, IBM, Cray, Nvidia and Intel will be important to the exascale effort.

"This research aims to deliver those huge increases in performance—without significant increases in energy consumption—to enable advances in diverse fields ranging from medical science to astrophysics and climate modeling," he wrote. "These could arrive as prototypes over the next several years, with full production units early in the next decade."



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