HPC Yearbook 19/20

High-Performance Computing 2019-20

Processing possibilities

As competition in the processor market heats up there are increasing options available to HPC users, writes Robert Roe

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he rise of AMD and Arm as credible competition, alongside Intel and the use of other processing technologies such as IBM Power9 is driving new

competition for market share in the HPC CPU market. Combined with, or supplemented by,

accelerator technologies where necessary, there has not been this much choice in CPU technologies for HPC systems for a number of years. Tis can complicate matters when choosing a new system or deciding to update or create new code as there needs to be careful benchmarking and exploration of the technological possibilities. However, the

situation also provides an opportunity for many niche applications to find the right technology as there are more options available, each of which have their own specialisation. Examples of this can be found across the

processor market, AMD, for example, has announced a new 64 core server CPU which has set new benchmarks in SPECrate and High Performance Linpack (HPL). While the benchmarks are notable, the system also requires liquid cooling and uses considerable power.

IBM, on the other hand, is working on

increasing the options for memory bandwidth. At the Hot Chips 19 conference earlier this

year, the company highlighted its plans for IBM Power9 Advanced I/O which is claimed to deliver more than 600GB/s sustained memory bandwidth. Tese 14nm chips will support OpenCAPI 4.0 and an Open Memory Interface (OMI) which delivers an alternative to DDR at a higher bandwidth. Intel is pushing towards AI specialisation

with its Neural Network Processor for Training or NNP-T, developed by its AI team developed through the 2016 acquisition of Nervana Systems, a startup company that specialises in deep learning. Also announced at the Hot Chips event, Intel revealed new details of its Nervana neural network processors, Intel also

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