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: Wind Farms, Gravitational Lenses, Web Portals & More

February 19, 2019

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

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from the nanoscale to the astronomic, from calculating quantum effe Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

What Will IBM’s AI Debater Learn from Its Loss?

February 14, 2019

The utility of IBM’s latest man-versus-machine gambit is debatable. At the very least its Project Debater got us thinking about the potential uses of artificial intelligence as a way of helping humans sift through al Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Systems With Intel Omni-Path: Architected for Value and Accessible High-Performance Computing

Today’s high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) users value high performing clusters. And the higher the performance that their system can deliver, the better. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Medical Research Powered by Data

“We’re all the same, but we’re unique as well. In that uniqueness lies all of the answers….”

  • Mark Tykocinski, MD, Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Thomas Jefferson University

Getting the answers to what causes some people to develop diseases and not others is driving the groundbreaking medical research being conducted by the Computational Medicine Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Read more…

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. According to Dutch news site Drimb Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from th Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

UC Berkeley Paper Heralds Rise of Serverless Computing in the Cloud – Do You Agree?

February 13, 2019

Almost exactly ten years to the day from publishing of their widely-read, seminal paper on cloud computing, UC Berkeley researchers have issued another ambitious examination of cloud computing - Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing. The new work heralds the rise of ‘serverless computing’ as the next dominant phase of cloud computing. Read more…

By John Russell

Iowa ‘Grows Its Own’ to Fill the HPC Workforce Pipeline

February 13, 2019

The global workforce that supports advanced computing, scientific software and high-speed research networks is relatively small when you stop to consider the magnitude of the transformative discoveries it empowers. Technical conferences provide a forum where specialists convene to learn about the latest innovations and schedule face-time with colleagues from other institutions. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Trump Signs Executive Order Launching U.S. AI Initiative

February 11, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) today launching a U.S Artificial Intelligence Initiative. The new initiative - Maintaining American L Read more…

By John Russell

Celebrating Women in Science: Meet Four Women Leading the Way in HPC

February 11, 2019

One only needs to look around at virtually any CS/tech conference to realize that women are underrepresented, and that holds true of HPC. SC hosts over 13,000 H Read more…

By AJ Lauer

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

Assessing Government Shutdown’s Impact on HPC

February 6, 2019

After a 35-day federal government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, government agencies are taking stock of the damage -- and girding for a potential secon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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