Spreading Tera at the Intel Developer Forum

By Michael Feldman

September 29, 2006

In San Francisco this week, Intel execs evangelized the company's vision of the future of computing. CEO Paul Otellini used the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) as a platform to present the overall product roadmap for the next four years and beyond. CTO Justin Rattner talked about their long-range terascale processor development and the new types of applications that will be using this advanced technology.

In the near-term, Intel is planning to accelerate its micro-architecture design cycle by producing new core architectures every two years, instead of the four to six that they've done in the past. He displayed a chart that mapped new micro-architectures coming in 2008 (code-named Nehalem and targeted at 45nm silicon manufacturing technology), followed by another in 2010 (code-named Gesher and targeted at 32nm). Otellini said they're on track to use their 45nm technology in new products starting in the second half of 2007.

Intel, which has been shipping 65nm processors since June, has perhaps a six-month lead over rival AMD in silicon manufacturing technology. The first Opteron and Athlon processors on 65nm technology are not expected until the end of this year. Intel's process technology advantage may be further extended when it jumps to 45nm in 2007. But AMD, with its HyperTransport technology, is forcing its larger rival to play catch-up in the processor interconnect arena. At the IDF, Intel said very little about the roadmap for its CSI technology. CSI, which stands for Common System Interconnect or Common System Interface depending on who you talk to, is allegedly Intel's answer to HyperTransport, but apparently was not worth talking about yet.

In the meantime, Intel is promoting an open-standard interconnect technology called “Geneseo,” which is characterized as an extension to the popular PCI Express. Like AMD's HyperTransport-based Torrenza initiative, Geneseo is designed to allow other vendors to attach special-purpose acceleration processors (e.g., numerical co-processor, XML engines and encryption/decryption devices) to the host processor. Intel is working with a number of partners on this technology, including IBM, but it's unclear when Geneseo will see commercial application.

The most forward-looking presentation at the IDF came from Intel CTO Justin Rattner. He revealed some of the details of the work being done by the company's Tera-scale Computing Research Program. In a departure from commercial designs, Rattner described a prototype that contained 80 RISC-like processing cores arranged in a tiled fashion and bonded to a vertical stack of memory chips. According to Rattner, this type of three-dimensional configuration allows thousands of interconnects which can sustain memory-to-processor transfer rates of terabytes per second. Intel's recently demonstrated hybrid silicon laser would be employed for terabit/second connectivity to other processors, I/O devices and even other systems. The whole idea is to produce a terascale processor, a device that will deliver a teraflop of performance and have access to terabytes/second of bandwidth — literally a supercomputer on a chip. The technology could be commercialized with the next five years.

Such a chip is not destined for traditional supercomputing. Intel does not see nuclear weapons simulations or global climate modeling as a growth industry. A terascale processor would presumably find a comfortable home in large-scale data centers, where multi-threaded Web service applications are all the rage. This technology could also propel new application markets and it is here where Intel sees the path to high-volume production. Not content with a build-it-and-they-will-come approach, Intel has already broadly defined the classes of applications that would inhabit such processors. They are called RMS: Recognition, Mining and Synthesis. Intel defines them as follows:

Recognition: Machine-learning capabilities that allow computers to examine data (text, images, video, audio, etc.) and construct mathematical models based on what they identify. An example would be constructing a model of the face of a specific person.

Mining: The capability to sift through large amounts of real-world data related to the patterns or models of interest. Put more simply, it is the ability to find an instance of a specific model amidst a large volume of data. For example, mining could entail finding a particular person's face from a large number of images of various resolutions, lighting environments, and so on.

Synthesis: The capability to explore theoretical scenarios by constructing new instances of a model. For example, this could be projecting what a person's face might look like if they were younger or older.

One example of an application that incorporates these capabilities would be a “smart” car that could drive itself to a destination (like picking you up and taking you home). Another example might be a Web service that allowed you to do virtual clothes shopping across the Internet, enabling you to “try on” individual items and see how they looked on you along with other items in your current wardrobe.

Imagine the economic effects that would result from these two rather simple examples. The smart car would eliminate cabs, driving schools, traffic officers and most of the DMV, as well as revolutionize commercial ground transport. The second example would accelerate the demise of brick and mortar clothing stores, change the profile of shopping malls and could lead to designer clothing for the middle class.

Justin Rattner wrote about the emergence of these new application domains in his recent blog entry:

“Such emerging 'killer apps' of the future have a few important attributes in common – they are highly parallel in nature, they are built from a common set of algorithms, and they have, by today's standards, extreme computational and memory bandwidth requirements, often requiring teraFLOPS of computing power and terabytes per second of memory bandwidth, respectively. Unfortunately the R&D community is lacking a suite of these emerging, highly-scalable workloads in order to guide the quantitative design of our future computing systems.”

Because of this deficiency, Intel has taken it upon itself to help build a new software culture that is focused around parallel programming. A company white paper, “From a Few Cores to Many, A Tera-scale Computing Research Overview,” reflects the company's mission to convert the programming masses to HPC. It states:

“In the tera-scale future, software should be designed to use available parallelism to gain the performance benefit of the increased numbers of cores. This requires that software developers design parallel programs, a traditionally time-consuming and error-prone task which requires developers to think differently than the way they do today. Teaching mainstream and future developers to identify and then effectively exploit parallelism is something Intel must foster if these skills are to move from a narrow domain of high-performance computing (HPC) experts into the mainstream.”

If the future of computing is high performance computing, then the vendors that figure out a way to drive this technology into the mainstream will dominate IT and relegate their rivals to niche markets or worse. Killer applications indeed.

To read Justin Rattner's blog, visit http://blogs.zdnet.com/OverTheHorizon/.

For more information on Intel's Tera-Scale research program, download the white paper at ftp://download.intel.com/research/platform/terascale/terascale_overview_paper.pdf.

—–

As always, comments about HPCwire are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Michael Feldman, at [email protected].

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time last year, IBM announced open sourcing its Power instructio Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Career Notes: July 2020 Edition

July 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it's a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we've got Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

Supercomputers Enable Radical, Promising New COVID-19 Drug Development Approach

July 1, 2020

Around the world, innumerable supercomputers are sifting through billions of molecules in a desperate search for a viable therapeutic to treat COVID-19. Those molecules are pulled from enormous databases of known compoun Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC-Powered Simulations Reveal a Looming Climatic Threat to Vital Monsoon Seasons

June 30, 2020

As June draws to a close, eyes are turning to the latter half of the year – and with it, the monsoon and hurricane seasons that can prove vital or devastating for many of the world’s coastal communities. Now, climate Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This year is no different though the conversion of ISC to a digital Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Maxar Builds HPC on AWS to Deliver Forecasts 58% Faster Than Weather Supercomputer

When weather threatens drilling rigs, refineries, and other energy facilities, oil and gas companies want to move fast to protect personnel and equipment. And for firms that trade commodity shares in oil, precious metals, crops, and livestock, the weather can significantly impact their buy-sell decisions. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Mosquitoes, [email protected], the Last Journey & More

June 29, 2020

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This yea Read more…

By John Russell

Racism and HPC: a Special Podcast

June 29, 2020

Promoting greater diversity in HPC is a much-discussed goal and ostensibly a long-sought goal in HPC. Yet it seems clear HPC is far from achieving this goal. Re Read more…

Top500 Trends: Movement on Top, but Record Low Turnover

June 25, 2020

The 55th installment of the Top500 list saw strong activity in the leadership segment with four new systems in the top ten and a crowning achievement from the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ISC 2020 Keynote: Hope for the Future, Praise for Fugaku and HPC’s Pandemic Response

June 24, 2020

In stark contrast to past years Thomas Sterling’s ISC20 keynote today struck a more somber note with the COVID-19 pandemic as the central character in Sterling’s annual review of worldwide trends in HPC. Better known for his engaging manner and occasional willingness to poke prickly egos, Sterling instead strode through the numbing statistics associated... Read more…

By John Russell

ISC 2020’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

June 24, 2020

Normally, the Student Cluster Competition involves teams of students building real computing clusters on the show floors of major supercomputer conferences and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Hoefler’s Whirlwind ISC20 Virtual Tour of ML Trends in 9 Slides

June 23, 2020

The ISC20 experience this year via livestreaming and pre-recordings is interesting and perhaps a bit odd. That said presenters’ efforts to condense their comments makes for economic use of your time. Torsten Hoefler’s whirlwind 12-minute tour of ML is a great example. Hoefler, leader of the planned ISC20 Machine Learning... Read more…

By John Russell

At ISC, the Fight Against COVID-19 Took the Stage – and Yes, Fugaku Was There

June 23, 2020

With over nine million infected and nearly half a million dead, the COVID-19 pandemic has seized the world’s attention for several months. It has also dominat Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This