Nvidia Launches Pascal GPUs for Deep Learning Inferencing

By Tiffany Trader

September 12, 2016

Already entrenched in the deep learning community for neural net training, Nvidia wants to secure its place as the go-to chipmaker for datacenter inferencing. At the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in Beijing today (Tuesday), Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the latest additions to the Tesla line, Pascal-based P4 and P40 GPU accelerators, as well as new software all aimed at improving performance for inferencing workloads that undergird applications like voice-activated assistants, spam filters, and recommendation engines.

Employing the same form factor as the Maxwell-based M4 and M40 GPUs, the new Pascal cards were designed to accelerate inferencing workloads. Most significantly, the GPUs feature specialized inference instructions based on 8-bit (INT8) operations. Using the VGG image recognition model as a benchmark, Nvidia reports that the P40 achieved a 45x faster response than a E5-2690v4 Xeon (with the latest Intel Math Kernel Library) and a 4x improvement over the M40, which debuted last November at Supercomputing. In both cases, the P40 was running INT8 instructions, while the comparison hardware was employing FP32.

For the test, Nvidia paired the Tesla P40 with an internal version of the company’s TensorRT library, which is also being announced today. TensorRT, formerly known as GIE (GPU Inference Engine), enables the trained neural net to run well on Pascal GPUs, says Nvidia. The library takes neural nets, typically built with 32-bit or 16-bit operations, and tunes them for the specific GPU to be used for deployment.

“If there’s a GPU in the datacenter like the P4 or P40 then TensorRT will automatically recognize that and transform that neural net into 8 bit,” said Roy Kim, a product manager in Nvidia’s Tesla HPC business unit. “And TensorRT will take neural net and deploy it anywhere – it could deploy it in an embedded Jetson program for example.”

On the training side, models need the higher accuracy of at least 16-bit floating point (FP16), but once the models are trained, this dynamic range can be reduced down to an 8-bit range without a loss of accuracy. The upshot of INT8, is that it enables four times as much throughput compared to single-precision floating point (FP32).

nvidia-tesla-p4-specs

nvidia-tesla-p40-specs

The P4 is designed for the scale-out datacenter server and prioritizes energy efficiency whereas the P40 emphasizes high throughput for deep learning workloads. The P40 is for customers who want to deploy lots of GPUs in a box in batch mode for overnight processing of video data, for example, said Kim. A single Tesla P4 provides 22 Tera-Operations per second (TOPS) while the P40 offers 47 Tera-Operations per second (TOPS) — both figures are with boost clock enabled.

Nvidia also unveiled a new software development kit to help speed video analytics workloads. DeepStream SDK has APIs for transcoding video onto various formats, it has SDK to preprocess those videos, and it has the APIs and support for deep learning frameworks, the company said. With DeepStream, a single Tesla P4 server (with two E5-2650 v4 CPUs) can simultaneously decode and analyze up to 93 HD video streams in real time compared with seven streams on a GPU-less Broadwell-based box, according to Nvidia.

Nvidia continues to count Baidu as a key partner and confirmed that the Chinese search giant still uses Nvidia GPUs for training and inferencing its Deep Speech 2 system. Hyperscalers like Baidu are increasingly concerned with minimizing the time it takes for their systems to recognize speech, images or text in response to queries from users and devices.

“Delivering simple and responsive experiences to each of our users is very important to us,” said Greg Diamos, senior researcher at Baidu. “At Baidu, we have deployed NVIDIA GPUs in production to provide AI-powered services such as our Deep Speech 2 system and the use of GPUs enables a level of responsiveness that would not be possible on un-accelerated servers.”

“The complexity of that Deep Speech 2 model has increased by 10x in just one year,” said Nvidia’s Kim. “So it makes sense from the training side why they need GPUs. But on the inferencing side, they are seeing a problem. Whereas it used to be okay to deploy on CPU servers, it isn’t tenable anymore. With hyperscalers every millisecond matters. Baidu believes that after 500 milliseconds, user engagement goes down. With the Pascal GPU the response is almost immediate, about 100 milliseconds.”

Nvidia said it went through pains to ensure it used the latest Intel hardware and software for its comparison testing. The graphics chipmaker’s message is that even the latest Broadwell CPUs are challenged by today’s complex inferencing workloads. To Intel’s mind, however, the star of its deep learning portfolio is its Xeon Phi manycore processor. We imagine a fuller picture of the comparative performance advantages of Nvidia and Intel silicon will emerge when Pascal GPUs go head to head against Knights Landing on a range of workloads. Things will get even more interesting next year with the debut of the next-generation Phi processor, Knights Mill, which will support lower-precision computations.

The Tesla P40 is expected to be available next month and the P4 the month after. The cards will be available from all major OEMs and ODMs, including Dell Technologies, HPE, Inspur, Inventec, Lenovo, QCT, Quanta Computer and Wistron.

The DeepStream SDK will be available to early users as part of an invite-only closed beta program.

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!

University of Chicago Researchers Generate First Computational Model of Entire SARS-CoV-2 Virus

January 15, 2021

Over the course of the last year, many detailed computational models of SARS-CoV-2 have been produced with the help of supercomputers, but those models have largely focused on critical elements of the virus, such as its Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Roar Supercomputer to Support Naval Aircraft Research

January 14, 2021

One might not think “aircraft” when picturing the U.S. Navy, but the military branch actually has thousands of aircraft currently in service – and now, supercomputing will help future naval aircraft operate faster, Read more…

By Staff report

DOE and NOAA Extend Computing Partnership, Plan for New Supercomputer

January 14, 2021

The National Climate-Computing Research Center (NCRC), hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has been supporting the climate research of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the last 1 Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using Micro-Combs, Researchers Demonstrate World’s Fastest Optical Neuromorphic Processor for AI

January 13, 2021

Neuromorphic computing, which uses chips that mimic the behavior of the human brain using virtual “neurons,” is growing in popularity thanks to high-profile efforts from Intel and others. Now, a team of researchers l Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Now Available – Amazon EC2 C6gn Instances with 100 Gbps Networking

Amazon EC2 C6gn instances powered by AWS Graviton2 processors are now available!

Compared to C6g instances, this new instance type provides 4x higher network bandwidth, 4x higher packet processing performance, and 2x higher EBS bandwidth. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Intel Keynote Address

Intel is the foundation of HPC – from the workstation to the cloud to the backbone of the Top500. At SC20, Intel’s Trish Damkroger, VP and GM of high performance computing, addresses the audience to show how Intel and its partners are building the future of HPC today, through hardware and software technologies that accelerate the broad deployment of advanced HPC systems. Read more…

Honing In on AI, US Launches National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office

January 13, 2021

To drive American leadership in the field of AI into the future, the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office has been launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The new agen Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

By John Russell

Intel ‘Ice Lake’ Server Chips in Production, Set for Volume Ramp This Quarter

January 12, 2021

Intel Corp. used this week’s virtual CES 2021 event to reassert its dominance of the datacenter with the formal roll out of its next-generation server chip, the 10nm Xeon Scalable processor that targets AI and HPC workloads. The third-generation “Ice Lake” family... Read more…

By George Leopold

Researchers Say It Won’t Be Possible to Control Superintelligent AI

January 11, 2021

Worries about out-of-control AI aren’t new. Many prominent figures have suggested caution when unleashing AI. One quote that keeps cropping up is (roughly) th Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Files Patent on New GPU Chiplet Approach

January 5, 2021

Advanced Micro Devices is accelerating the GPU chiplet race with the release of a U.S. patent application for a device that incorporates high-bandwidth intercon Read more…

By George Leopold

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

Intel Touts Optane Performance, Teases Next-gen “Crow Pass”

January 5, 2021

Competition to leverage new memory and storage hardware with new or improved software to create better storage/memory schemes has steadily gathered steam during Read more…

By John Russell

Farewell 2020: Bleak, Yes. But a Lot of Good Happened Too

December 30, 2020

Here on the cusp of the new year, the catchphrase ‘2020 hindsight’ has a distinctly different feel. Good riddance, yes. But also proof of science’s power Read more…

By John Russell

Esperanto Unveils ML Chip with Nearly 1,100 RISC-V Cores

December 8, 2020

At the RISC-V Summit today, Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies, announced a new, RISC-V based chip aimed at machine learning and containing nearly 1,100 low-power cores based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Esperanto Technologies, headquartered in... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

By John Russell

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

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chipmaker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the European Union begin scrutinizing the impact of the blockbuster deal on semiconductor industry competition and innovation, the deal has at the very least... Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel Xe-HP GPU Deployed for Aurora Exascale Development

November 17, 2020

At SC20, Intel announced that it is making its Xe-HP high performance discrete GPUs available to early access developers. Notably, the new chips have been deplo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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