IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

By John Russell

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. It’s another step in IBM efforts to lay claim to leadership in the nascent deep learning market. Offering supported distributions of popular frameworks, said Sumit Gupta, IBM vice president, High Performance Computing and Analytics, is a natural next step in expanding and commercializing deep learning use.

“What we did with PowerAI is create a software distribution for deep learning and machine learning. The insight to do that came from the Linux world. Most enterprise clients don’t go to Linux.org to get their Linux, they go to Red Hat or SUSE,” said Gupta. “Today deep learning is completely an open source community with users going to TensorFlow.org or Caffe.org etc. to download software. But we have clients saying they would prefer to get a supported distribution. So we created PowerAI, a pre-curated, pre-bundled binary that has all the deep learning frameworks. The problems we’re solving are that downloading and installing these frameworks is hard. TensorFlow, for example, depends on a 100 different packages.”

“I want to emphasize that in a sense we have become the Red Hat of deep learning. As Red Hat is to Linux, IBM PowerAI is to deep learning.”

TensorFlow, of course, was originally created by Google and then put into the open source community. “TensorFlow is quickly becoming a viable option for companies interested in deploying deep learning for tasks ranging from computer vision, to speech recognition, to text analytics,” said Rajat Monga, engineering leader for TensorFlow. “IBM’s enterprise offering of TensorFlow will help organizations deploy this framework — we’re glad to see this support.”

According to  the IBM release, “IBM Technology Support Services will build upon its hardware support services by investing and launching a new innovative enterprise software support offering for the PowerAI stack for a competitive advantage. Further, IBM Global Business Solutions established a deep learning design and development team as part of its Cognitive Business Solutions practice to help build solutions on the PowerAI platform, while making use of popular frameworks such as TensorFlow.”

“Every enterprise is looking at emerging artificial intelligence methods to take advantage of the data they now have access to,” said Ken King, IBM general manager for OpenPOWER. “Our PowerAI software offering curates packages and provides enterprise-level support for the major deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow, to enable enterprises to easily use these new AI methods to build new computer models for analyzing their data.”

Selling Power-based servers is also a big goal. In September, IBM introduced several new Power8-based machines, including the Minsky platform that has the Power8+ chip and NVLink for communication with NVIDIA’s P100 GPUs. PowerAI has been optimized for Minsky and Gupta said TensorFlow, for example, “runs 30% faster* on Minsky (Power System S822LC for HPC) compared to an x86 system with PCIe GPUs, so we have shown the value of NVLink between the CPU and GPU (details of the systems compared with below).”

Gupta characterized TensorFlow as becoming one of the most popular DL framework in the U.S. while Chainer is the most popular in Japan. The PowerAI suite now includes CAFFE, Chainer, TensorFlow, Theano, Torch, cuDNN, NVIDIA DIGITS, and several other machine and deep learning frameworks and libraries. The IBM PowerAI roadmap includes addition of supported versions of the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (previously called CNTK) and Amazon’s MXNet, said Gupta.

The newest edition of the PowerAI software is available now for download. It will also be available on the HPC specialist Nimbix cloud which offers high-end Minsky machines with NVLink and P100 GPUs. Gupta said Nimbix already has “a lot of customers right now are using the Minsky cloud that they put up a few months ago.”

Market traction for the Minsky platform, said Gupta, has been especially strong although he declined to offer numbers or identify major wins.

*Details behind the 30% advantage supplied by IBM:

Achieved 30% more Images/sec on TensorFlow 0.12 training when compared to a system with four NVIDIA Tesla P100s attached through conventional PCIe when running the Inception v3 model, a popular image recognition framework.

Results are based on IBM Internal Measurements running TensorFlow 0.12 (model: Inception v3, dataset: ImageNet2012) training for 500 iterations.

Power System S822LC for HPC: 20 cores (2 x 10c chips), POWER8; 3.95GHz (peak); 512GB RAM; 4x Nvidia Tesla (NVLink) P100 GPU; Ubuntu 16.04, TensorFlow 0.12.0

Competitive System: E5-2640v4; 20 cores (2 x 10c chips), Broadwell; 3.4Ghz; 512GB RAM; 4x Nvidia Tesla P100 (PCIe) GPU; Ubuntu 16.04, TensorFlow 0.12.1

Related Links

IBM Launches PowerAI Suite Optimized for its Highest Performing Server

IBM Debuts Power8 Chip with NVLink and Three New Systems

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!

RSC Reports 500Tflops, Hot Water Cooled System Deployed at JINR

April 18, 2018

RSC, developer of supercomputers and advanced HPC systems based in Russia, today reported deployment of “the world's first 100% ‘hot water’ liquid cooled supercomputer” at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JI Read more…

By Staff

New Device Spots Quantum Particle ‘Fingerprint’

April 18, 2018

Majorana particles have been observed by university researchers employing a device consisting of layers of magnetic insulators on a superconducting material. The advance opens the door to controlling the elusive particle Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’s introduction of an ARM-based system (XC-50) last November. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in Los Angeles. The Read more…

By Staff

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’ Read more…

By John Russell

IBM: Software Ecosystem for OpenPOWER is Ready for Prime Time

April 16, 2018

With key pieces of the IBM/OpenPOWER versus Intel/x86 gambit settling into place – e.g., the arrival of Power9 chips and Power9-based systems, hyperscaler sup Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cloud-Readiness and Looking Beyond Application Scaling

April 11, 2018

There are two aspects to consider when determining if an application is suitable for running in the cloud. The first, which we will discuss here under the title Read more…

By Chris Downing

Transitioning from Big Data to Discovery: Data Management as a Keystone Analytics Strategy

April 9, 2018

The past 10-15 years has seen a stark rise in the density, size, and diversity of scientific data being generated in every scientific discipline in the world. Key among the sciences has been the explosion of laboratory technologies that generate large amounts of data in life-sciences and healthcare research. Large amounts of data are now being stored in very large storage name spaces, with little to no organization and a general unease about how to approach analyzing it. Read more…

By Ari Berman, BioTeam, Inc.

IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network

April 5, 2018

IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qu Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positi Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This