Pondering AMD’s Ambitions for High-Performance APUs

AMD has flirted with the idea of building big brawny APUs for servers ever since the company starting developing the CPU-GPU hybrid chips begin back in 2006. Combining x86 and Radeon silicon on the same die for desktops and laptops was the basis for AMD’s original Fusion processor, later renamed as the Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Now with the anticipation of the next-generation “Zen” CPU core and the future “Vega” GPU, it looks like a high-performance server APU could finally become a reality.

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News

An Early Debut for NVIDIA’s Volta GPU?

The GPU rumor mill was grinding away this week with talk of an accelerated launch for NVIDIA’s next-generation Volta processor. Volta is the architecture that will succeed the current-generation Pascal design, which is the basis for the Tesla P100 GPUs destined for the HPC and deep learning markets. According to a report in Fudzilla, the first Volta parts may show up in 2017, a year ahead of NVIDIA’s original schedule.

Startup Will Offer Custom-Built Deep Learning Computers

Silicon Valley's newest chipmaker, Wave Computing, came out of stealth mode this week, announcing a family of computers purpose-built for deep learning. The new systems are powered by the Wave Dataflow Processing Unit (DPU), a massively parallel dataflow processor designed to optimize the learning models. According to the company, the technology performs an order of magnitude faster than GPUs or FPGAs and is more energy efficient.

Dutch Researchers Build Atomic Storage

A team of scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed a technology that uses chlorine atoms to read and write data, enabling extremely dense storage to be constructed. The prototype device can store just a single kilobyte of data, but if it was scaled up to one square centimeter, it would have a capacity of 10 terabytes.

SoftBank to Acquire ARM Holdings for $32 Billion

Japanese IT conglomerate SoftBank announced it is buying ARM Holdings, the UK-based microprocessor designer, for £23.4 billion, or about $32 billion. The deal came as surprise to many tech industry followers since until now SoftBank has played mainly in the mobile telecom space, with forays into internet services.

VMware Readying HPC Cloud Offering

A report by CRN says that VMware is developing a high performance computing service using the company’s vCloud Air IaaS platform. According to the report, the new service  will be aimed at “large enterprise customers.” The story was based on three unnamed sources that had been briefed on the product.

Brazilian University Taps SGI for New Supercomputer

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) has deployed a 226-teraflop SGI ICE X supercomputer to support engineering and research projects aimed at the Brazil’s energy industry. The system will serve both commercial and academic interests from its new home in the university’s High Performance Computing Center at the Graduate School of Research and Engineering (COPPE).

Startup Brews Beer Flavored by Artificial Intelligence

The UK and the rest of Europe may be parting ways, but at least the Brits can drown their sorrows in a rather unique way. A new company based in London is now selling beer designed by a machine learning algorithm. The company, IntelligentX, is promoting their new offering as “the world’s first beer brewed by AI.”

HPE Moves ‘The Machine’ into Enterprise Group

Changes are in store for “The Machine,” the R&D effort at Hewlett Package Enterprise that recasts the computer as a memory-centric system. According to a blog post by HPE CEO Meg Whitman, the project, along with HP Labs, the unit that manages the The Machine's development, will be placed under the Enterprise Group. The decision is related to the exit of HPE CTO Martin Fink, who will be retiring from the company at the end of the year.   More News

In Depth

EXTOLL's Network Marches to the Beat of a Different Drummer

Network latency and bandwidth often turn out to be choke points on application performance for many HPC codes. As a result, the network component for HPC systems has successfully resisted the trend toward general-purpose solutions, Ethernet notwithstanding. Such an environment is conducive to greater innovation and experimentation, as is exemplified in EXTOLL’s network technology

Silicon Valley: “Trump Would Be a Disaster for Innovation”

More than a hundred high-profile leaders from Silicon Valley and the broader IT community have published an open letter warning voters that a Donald Trump presidency would be a catastrophe for American technology leadership. The letter was signed by 145 inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the US technology sector.

A Dive into DEEP-ER, Exascale Research with a Distinctly European Flair

The European Union is funding a number of HPC projects that are exploring different hardware and software technologies for exascale computing. One of these, known as DEEP-ER, expands on the notion of the “Cluster-Booster” architecture of its predecessor, the DEEP project. Using a mix of European HPC technologies from German, Italy and elsewhere, DEEP-ER is exploring some of the thornier issues of exascale, in particular, I/O scalability and system resiliency.

With the Right Software, PCs Can Outdistance Supercomputers

In an industry as forward-leaning as high performance computing, the focus on exascale and buying machines with the maximum amount of FLOPS hardware can be a distraction. The average HPC user is just looking to find the best performance possible for their applications with the hardware at hand. And in more cases than we would like to think, sometimes that hardware is just a personal computer.

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This Week in HPC

Japanese Conglomerate to Aquire ARM and Silicon Valley Slams Trump

Addison Snell and Michael Feldman have differing opinions on the potential impact of SoftBank's move to acquire ARM but agree with Silicon Valley leadership that Trump is a potential catastrophe for the tech industry.

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