China Will Deploy Exascale Prototype This Year

China is developing a new supercomputer designed to be “a prototype of an exascale computer.” Although the country is not expected to the field its first exascale machine until 2020, the prototype is scheduled to boot up before the end of this year. Most likely, the system in question is the infamous Tianhe-2A supercomputer.

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Mont-Blanc Project Teams with Cavium and Bull to Build ARM-Based Supercomputer

The Mont-Blanc Project has selected Cavium’s ThunderX2 ARM processor to power its next prototype for exascale computing. The system will be constructed by Bull (Atos), leveraging the supercomputer maker’s “exascale-ready” sequana architecture, as well as the high-performance features of the ThunderX2 SoC product.

Bridges Supercomputer Used to Build AI Model for Beating Humans at Poker

At the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh this week, an artificial intelligence program will challenge four professional poker players to determine if a machine can beat humans at the most popular gambling card game in the world. The program, known as Libratus, was developed by AI researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) using the newly upgraded Bridges supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC).

AMD Spills Details on Vega GPU Architecture

Radeon GPUs based on AMD’s next-generation “Vega” architecture will soon be shipping. The chipmaker unveiled some of the details of the new graphics processor in an announcement on January 5.

HP Labs Builds Experimental Optical Processor

Hewlett Packard Labs has developed an optical processor that could tackle a class of computational problems not easily solved by conventional digital chips. The processor, which was developed in conjunction with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Mesodynamic Architectures program, houses 1,052 optical components laid down on a silicon-based substrate.

Australian HPC Provider Joins OpenPOWER, Adds IBM Cluster to Growing Stable of Supercomputers

Australia’s National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, the country’s first organization to do so. In conjunction with its new membership, NCI has purchased an IBM Power8 cluster, which will be used to run a range of compute-demanding analytics and simulation workloads.

ARM Buys HPC Software Toolmaker Allinea

ARM Limited has purchased Allinea Software, a maker of application development tools for high performance computing, for an undisclosed sum of money. The acquisition gives ARM a leg up in expanding its reach into the HPC ecosystem.

Amazon Adds FPGA Instance to Public Cloud

In a blog post published last week, Amazon Web Services Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr announced a new Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance, known as the F1, which incorporates Xilinx FPGAs. The web giant says users will not only be able to build FPGA-accelerated applications for their own purposes with the new instance, but also resell them in the AWS Marketplace to third parties.

Uber Adds AI Labs Division, Acquires Machine Learning Startup

Uber has taken another definitive step toward eliminating human drivers from its fleet of vehicles.  This week, the ride service pioneer created a research division, known as AI Labs, while simultaneously acquiring machine learning startup Geometric Intelligence for an undisclosed sum. More News

In Depth

Cray to Deliver ARM-Powered Supercomputer to UK Consortium

Cray is going to build what will looks to be the world’s first ARM-based supercomputer. The system, known as “Isambard,” will be the basis of a new UK-based HPC service that will offer the machine as a platform to support scientific research and to evaluate ARM technologies for high performance computing. Installation of Isambard is scheduled to begin in March and be up and running before the end of the year.

AMD Readies Naples CPUs to do Battle with Intel Skylake Xeons

The release date for AMD’s Zen-based “Naples” CPU is still a few months away, but details about the new high performance server chip are already leaking into the public domain. Some of these specs are available in a recent report published at WCCFtech. Although much remains to be revealed, Naples is shaping up to be the first credible Xeon competitor that Intel has encountered in several years.

IBM Wants to Build Machine Learning ‘Macroscopes’ to Understand the World

Like many tech companies, IBM is starting the new year by making a few predictions. One of them has to do with a software concept they call a “macroscope,” a software technology that can be used to analyze the complexities of the physical world. IBM predicts that within five years, such technology will “help us understand the Earth’s complexity in infinite detail.”

Putting the Rise of Chinese Supercomputing in Perspective

In June 2016, China leapfrogged the HPC competition with its 93-petaflop Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer. Then in November it reached parity with the US on the TOP500 list in total number of systems and aggregate performance. But China’s supercomputing capabilities are in many respects still a work in progress.

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This Week in HPC

AMD and Chelsio Launch into New Year; Poker-Playing AI Gets Rematch

Episode157: Addison Snell and Michael Feldman discuss Chelsio and AMD's new Vega system and debate the chances of Carnegie Mellon's poker-playing A.I. system against the pros.

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