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!

What’s New in HPC Research: Dark Matter, Arrhythmia, Sustainability & More

February 28, 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

Microsoft Announces General Availability of AMD-backed Azure HBv2 Instances for HPC

February 27, 2020

Nearly seven months after they were first announced, Microsoft Azure’s HPC-targeted HBv2 virtual machines (VMs) based on AMD second-generation Epyc processors are ready for primetime. The new VMs, which Azure claims of Read more…

By Staff report

Sequoia Decommissioned, Making Room for El Capitan

February 27, 2020

After eight years of service, Sequoia has been felled. Once the most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world, Sequoia – hosted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) – has been decommissioned to Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Quantum Bits: Q-Ctrl, D-Wave Start News Flow on Eve of APS March Meeting

February 27, 2020

The annual trickle of quantum computing news during the lead-up to next week’s APS March Meeting 2020 has begun. Yesterday D-Wave introduced a significant upgrade to its quantum portal and tool suite, Leap2. Today quantum computing start-up Q-Ctrl announced the beta release of its ‘professional-grade’ tool Boulder Opal software... Read more…

By John Russell

Blue Waters Supercomputer Helps Tackle Pandemic Flu Simulations

February 26, 2020

While not the novel coronavirus that is now sweeping across the world, the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic (pH1N1) infected up to 21 percent of the global population and killed over 200,000 people. Now, a team of researchers from Read more…

By Staff report

AWS Solution Channel

Amazon FSx for Lustre Update: Persistent Storage for Long-Term, High-Performance Workloads

Last year I wrote about Amazon FSx for Lustre and told you how our customers can use it to create pebibyte-scale, highly parallel POSIX-compliant file systems that serve thousands of simultaneous clients driving millions of IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) with sub-millisecond latency. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Intelligent HPC – Keeping Hard Work at Bay(es)

Since the dawn of time, humans have looked for ways to make their lives easier. Over the centuries human ingenuity has given us inventions such as the wheel and simple machines – which help greatly with tasks that would otherwise be extremely laborious. Read more…

Micron Accelerator Bumps Up Memory Bandwidth

February 26, 2020

Deep learning accelerators based on chip architectures coupled with high-bandwidth memory are emerging to enable near real-time processing of machine learning algorithms. Memory chip specialist Micron Technology argues t Read more…

By George Leopold

Quantum Bits: Q-Ctrl, D-Wave Start News Flow on Eve of APS March Meeting

February 27, 2020

The annual trickle of quantum computing news during the lead-up to next week’s APS March Meeting 2020 has begun. Yesterday D-Wave introduced a significant upgrade to its quantum portal and tool suite, Leap2. Today quantum computing start-up Q-Ctrl announced the beta release of its ‘professional-grade’ tool Boulder Opal software... Read more…

By John Russell

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NOAA Lays Out Aggressive New AI Strategy

February 24, 2020

Roughly coincident with last week’s announcement of a planned tripling of its compute capacity, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an Read more…

By John Russell

New Supercomputer Cooling Method Saves Half-Million Gallons of Water at Sandia National Laboratories

February 24, 2020

A new cooling method for supercomputer systems is picking up steam – literally. After saving millions of gallons of water at a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) datacenter, this innovative approach, called... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

University of Stuttgart Inaugurates ‘Hawk’ Supercomputer

February 20, 2020

This week, the new “Hawk” supercomputer was inaugurated in a ceremony at the High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS). Offici Read more…

By Staff report

US to Triple Its Supercomputing Capacity for Weather and Climate with Two New Crays

February 20, 2020

The blizzard of news around the race for weather and climate supercomputing leadership continues. Just three days after the UK announced a £1.2 billion plan to build the world’s largest weather and climate supercomputer, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Japan’s AIST Benchmarks Intel Optane; Cites Benefit for HPC and AI

February 19, 2020

Last April Intel released its Optane Data Center Persistent Memory Module (DCPMM) – byte addressable nonvolatile memory – to increase main memory capacity a Read more…

By John Russell

UK Announces £1.2 Billion Weather and Climate Supercomputer

February 19, 2020

While the planet is heating up, so is the race for global leadership in weather and climate computing. In a bombshell announcement, the UK government revealed p Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Julia Programming’s Dramatic Rise in HPC and Elsewhere

January 14, 2020

Back in 2012 a paper by four computer scientists including Alan Edelman of MIT introduced Julia, A Fast Dynamic Language for Technical Computing. At the time, t Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Unveils Latest Achievements in AI Hardware

December 13, 2019

“The increased capabilities of contemporary AI models provide unprecedented recognition accuracy, but often at the expense of larger computational and energet Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

51,000 Cloud GPUs Converge to Power Neutrino Discovery at the South Pole

November 22, 2019

At the dead center of the South Pole, thousands of sensors spanning a cubic kilometer are buried thousands of meters beneath the ice. The sensors are part of Ic Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500: US Maintains Performance Lead; Arm Tops Green500

November 18, 2019

The 54th Top500, revealed today at SC19, is a familiar list: the U.S. Summit (ORNL) and Sierra (LLNL) machines, offering 148.6 and 94.6 petaflops respectively, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Azure Cloud First with AMD Epyc Rome Processors

November 6, 2019

At Ignite 2019 this week, Microsoft's Azure cloud team and AMD announced an expansion of their partnership that began in 2017 when Azure debuted Epyc-backed instances for storage workloads. The fourth-generation Azure D-series and E-series virtual machines previewed at the Rome launch in August are now generally available. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Debuts IC922 Power Server for AI Inferencing and Data Management

January 28, 2020

IBM today launched a Power9-based inference server – the IC922 – that features up to six Nvidia T4 GPUs, PCIe Gen 4 and OpenCAPI connectivity, and can accom Read more…

By John Russell

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Memoriam: Steve Tuecke, Globus Co-founder

November 4, 2019

HPCwire is deeply saddened to report that Steve Tuecke, longtime scientist at Argonne National Lab and University of Chicago, has passed away at age 52. Tuecke Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Azure Adds Graphcore’s IPU

November 15, 2019

Graphcore, the U.K. AI chip developer, is expanding collaboration with Microsoft to offer its intelligent processing units on the Azure cloud, making Microsoft Read more…

By George Leopold

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