Microsoft Goes All in for FPGAs to Build Out AI Cloud

Microsoft has revealed that Altera FPGAs have been installed across every Azure cloud server, creating what the company is calling “the world’s first AI supercomputer.” The deployment spans 15 countries and represents an aggregate performance of more than one exa-op. The announcement was made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and engineer Doug Burger during the opening keynote at the Ignite Conference in Atlanta.

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D-Wave Sets Stage for 2000-Qubit Quantum Computer

Quantum computing pioneer D-Wave Systems has announced some details of a new 2000-qubit system it has developed. The processor that drives the system will contain twice the number of qubits that powers the current D-Wave 2X system, which was announced last year. The new hardware also includes additional control features that enables users to tune the quantum computations to arrive at a faster result and to explore the solution space more fully.

IBM Finds Killer App for TrueNorth Neuromorphic Chip

TrueNorth, IBM’s brain-like microprocessor, has been found to be exceptionally proficient at inference work for deep neural networks. In particular, the chip has demonstrated it’s especially good at image recognition, being able accurately classify such data much more efficiently, from an energy perspective, than traditional processor architectures, suggesting new applications in mobile computing, IoT, robotics, autonomous cars, and HPC.

British AI Startup Buys GPU Supercomputer

BenevolentAI, a London-based artificial intelligence company specializing in health and bioscience applications, has acquired NVIDIA’s DGX-1, a deep learning system accelerated by eight Tesla P100 GPUs. The company plans to use the $129,000 machine to advance its work in drug discovery and related biomedical research.

Machine Learning Proves Faster Than Quantum Mechanical Calculations in Discovery of New Compounds

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have used machine learning to predict the thermodynamic characteristics of 90 new mineral compounds with potential commercial use. The machine learning models were able to predict the chemical stability of all possible iterations of a particular type of class of crystals several orders of magnitude faster than if the researchers had relied on quantum mechanical calculations.

TACC Flips the Switch on Solar-Powered Supercomputer

The Texas Advanced Computing Center in Austin has installed the world’s largest solar-powered HPC system. The 400 teraflop supercomputer, known as Hikari, is an HPE Apollo 800 cluster that uses technology supplied by Japanese green energy specialist NTT FACILITIES. In addition to taking advantage of Austin’s abundant sunshine, the power setup also employs high voltage direct power (HVDC) to further reduce energy consumption.

Talking Machines Just Took a Big Step Forward

In these days of Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Now, AI-based speech generation has become a commonplace technology in everyday life.  But when machines talk to us, it’s still obvious that we are listening to a computer, and not a human voice.  Thanks to new machine learning technology from Alphabet's DeepMind, that may soon change.

Exascale Computing Project Turns On Application Development

Last week the US DOE awarded $39.8 million worth of funding for more than a dozen application development projects aimed at exascale computing. A total of 15 proposals were funded, with an additional 7 receiving seed funding. The awards represent the first significant sum of federal money directed at developing exascale applications in the US.

Japan Runs into Detour on Exascale Roadmap

The rumors about a setback in the development of Japan’s first exascale system have apparently been borne out.  This week at the HPC User Forum in Austin, Texas, Dr. Yutaka Ishikawa, project lead for the Post-K supercomputer at RIKEN, admitted the effort will be delayed by one to two years. More News

In Depth

Getting Exascale Right, Not First

The path to exascale computing hasn’t been an easy one. It has had to face a daunting set of challenges in energy efficiency, application parallelism, and system reliability, just to name a few.  The difficulties in bringing the hardware and software up to this level is considerable, but there is a more fundamental challenge at the heart of exascale: doing the necessary work of building an ecosystem that will last for a decade or more, not just for a handful stunt machines.

Aquila Takes Wraps Off Liquid-Cooled HPC Server

Aquila, a system provider based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has unveiled a new liquid-cooled server platform that offers one of the densest and most energy-efficient architectures in the market. The platform, known as Aquarius, uses a patented warm water cooling technology along with rack-level power distribution to minimize energy consumption and allow for very high levels of computational density.

NVIDIA Bolsters Deep Learning Portfolio with New Pascal GPUs

NVIDIA has unveiled the Tesla P4 and P40, two new GPUs aimed at the very latest AI machinery. The processors are based on the company’s Pascal architecture and incorporate new features aimed at deep learning inferencing work in areas like image and speech recognition, language translation, and recommendation engines. The announcement was made at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference taking place in Beijing, China this week. 

IBM Raises Performance Bar with New Dual-CPU/Quad-GPU Server

IBM has unveiled what is probably the most powerful server the company has ever offered and one of the most computationally dense on the planet. The new S822LC for High Performance Computing, as it is called, is equipped with two IBM Power8 processors and four of NVIDIA’s latest Tesla P100 GPUs. As such, IBM is first OEM to go to market with Pascal GPU-accelerated servers incorporating NVLink technology.

More In Depth News

This Week in HPC

IBM Edge Conference in Las Vegas and HPC Advisory Council in Spain

Episode 141: Addison Snell reviews the big stories from some of the week's HPC conferences.

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