Bits and Bytes From IDF

By Michael Feldman

April 20, 2007

The semi-annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) took place in Beijing, China this week, a venue chosen to signify the importance of China to Intel. Not only is the Chinese IT market one of the most rapidly growing in the world, but Intel also has very large business commitments there. Currently, the company employs over 6000 employees in the country and has substantial investments in R&D and microprocessor assembly and testing. Intel recently announced they're building a $2.5 billion 300mm wafer fab in Dalian, bringing the company's total stake in China to 3.8 billion. So yes, China is important to them.

The IDF event gives Intel the opportunity to keep its customers and partners happy and titillate industry watchers. For those of us with limited travel budgets, Intel supplied an analyst/press phone briefing of the Beijing proceedings, hosted by Sean Maloney, Intel's chief sales and marketing officer. Although no big announcements were forthcoming at IDF, the company managed to pique my interest in a few areas.

Since Intel is between its “tick-tock” product cycle, having released most of the Core 65nm “tock” offerings, a lot of the talk at IDF was looking at the upcoming “tick” products — the Penryn processor family. With initial product releases scheduled for the latter half of this year, the Penryn processors will be implemented on the companies recently announced 45nm High-K plus metal gate silicon process technology. And just in case anyone has forgotten about the importance of this technology in the past few months, Maloney reminded us:

“We believe we've achieved a significant breakthrough in transistor technology by developing the High-K metal gate transistors … the biggest breakthrough in transistor technology in the last 40 years.”

The shrink to 45nm will give the Penryn products twice the transistor budget of the 65nm products and support higher clock speeds, lower power, or some combination of the two. It looks like Intel will be pushing the clock whenever possible. The company provided some preliminary benchmarks with a pre-production 3.3 GHz processor with a 1600 MHz front side bus. For HPC and workstation systems running bandwidth-intensive applications they achieved a 45 percent performance increase compared to the current quad-core Intel Xeon X5355 processor. Not bad, but there was no mention of the benchmark being used.

The new cores will also support 47 new SSE4 instructions, which are designed to accelerate applications involving digital media processing, memory-intensive workloads, HPC workloads and text searching, to name a few. According to Intel, SSE4 is their largest ISA extension in terms of scope impact since SSE2. Jon Stokes details some of the new capabilities of the SSE4 technology in an article published in Ars Technica.

The new 45nm “tock” offerings, represented by the Nehalem processor family, is slated to start production in 2008. These chips will contain up to 8 cores. Simultaneous multi-threading, an evolution of Intel's Hyper-threading technology, will also be included in the Nehalem cores. At least some of the these processors will include a new system interconnect (presumably Intel's forthcoming Common System Interconnect) as well as on-chip memory controllers, an architecture that mimics AMD's Opteron processor.

Speaking of the Common System Interconnect (CSI), on Tuesday at the Gelato ICE conference in San Jose, Intel released a few details about how this technology will fit into their Itanium roadmap. According to Jim Fister in Intel's Digital Enterprise group, Tukwilla, the four-core Itanium processor slated for 2008, will be the first chip to incorporate CSI, replacing the front-side bus that has been the mainstay of Intel processors. EETimes has posted a nice article from Rick Merrit about this topic.

Back to Beijing. In another nod to AMD design, Intel outlined its QuickAssist technology, which appears to be an evolution of their Geneseo initiative. QuickAssist will work analogously to AMD's Torrenza technology, allowing third-party coprocessors to link to Intel processors. In Intel's version, their interconnect platform is based on PCI Express, rather than HyperTransport. QuickAssist is designed to be used for specialized accelerators that target math-intensive, graphics, or embedded content workloads.

Maybe the biggest non-announcement announcement of the IDF event was the admission of the Intel's Larrabee technology, something that had been rumored for months now. But during Intel's press briefing, Maloney refuse to give any details on the technology, dodging every question on the topic. Here's the minimalist quote from the press release:

“Intel has begun planning products based on a highly parallel, IA-based programmable architecture codenamed 'Larrabee.' It will be easily programmable using many existing software tools, and designed to scale to trillions of floating point operations per second (Teraflops) of performance. The Larrabee architecture will include enhancements to accelerate applications such as scientific computing, recognition, mining, synthesis, visualization, financial analytics and health applications.”

The only new factoid here is that the silicon would be compatible with current Intel products. Reports from IDF about Pat Gelsinger's comments on Larrabee revealed a few more tidbits. Gelsinger, the senior vice president and co-general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, said Larrabee products would support varying numbers of processing cores, depending on the targeted application, and will be based on the x86 ISA.

In the past, industry analysts had speculated that Larrabee referred to some kind of high-end GPU silicon that would go head-to-head with AMD and NVIDIA graphics processors that are aimed at GPGPU (general purpose processing with GPUs) workloads. But Gelsinger dismissed the GPGPU model, stating that graphics processors are not general purpose.

“[T]his will end the GPGPU debate,” wrote Gelsinger in a blog entry posted on Tuesday. “Solving the programmability of any such highly parallel machines is the key problem and IA programmability is the solution.”

In any case, the Larrabee technology may end up looking similar to the GPGPU platforms envisioned by AMD and NVIDIA, namely, processors that incorporate elements of CPUs with elements of GPUs. Reading between the lines, it looks like Intel could be thinking of a multicore streaming SIMD architecture based on their native SSE instruction set — think multiple SSE units. The SIMD cores could be isolated on their own die or mixed with non-SSE x86 silicon in some fashion. However it's implemented, Larrabee looks like the basis of a hardware platform designed to run RMS (Recognition, Mining, and Synthesis) applications, Intel's vision of next-generation workloads for 2010 and beyond.

—–

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!

Supercomputer Research Reveals Star Cluster Born Outside Our Galaxy

July 11, 2020

The Milky Way is our galactic home, containing our solar system and continuing into a giant band of densely packed stars that stretches across clear night skies around the world – but, it turns out, not all of those st Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprised of Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia A100 GPUs, and featuri Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Xilinx Announces First Adaptive Computing Challenge

July 9, 2020

A new contest is challenging the computing world. Xilinx has announced the first Xilinx Adaptive Computing Challenge, a competition that will task developers and startups with finding creative workload acceleration solutions. Xilinx is running the Adaptive Computing Challenge in partnership with Hackster.io, a developing community... Read more…

By Staff report

Reviving Moore’s Law? LBNL Researchers See Promise in Heterostructure Oxides

July 9, 2020

The reality of Moore’s law’s decline is no longer doubted for good empirical reasons. That said, never say never. Recent work by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers suggests heterostructure oxides may b Read more…

By John Russell

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: 1) Industries of the Future (IotF), chaired be Dario Gil (d Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Best Practices for Running Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Workloads on AWS

The scalable nature and variable demand of CFD workloads makes them well-suited for a cloud computing environment. Many of the AWS instance types, such as the compute family instance types, are designed to include support for this type of workload.  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…

Penguin Computing Brings Cascade Lake-AP to OCP Form Factor

July 7, 2020

Penguin Computing, a subsidiary of SMART Global Holdings, Inc., announced yesterday (July 6) a new Tundra server, Tundra AP, that is the first to implement the Intel Xeon Scalable 9200 series processors (codenamed Cascad Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprise Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Q&A: HLRS’s Bastian Koller Tackles HPC and Industry in Germany and Europe

July 6, 2020

In this exclusive interview for HPCwire – sadly not face to face – Steve Conway, senior advisor for Hyperion Research, talks with Dr.-Ing Bastian Koller about the state of HPC and its collaboration with Industry in Europe. Koller is a familiar figure in HPC. He is the managing director at High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and also serves... Read more…

By Steve Conway, Hyperion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

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

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

‘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

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

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

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