HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

By Doug Black

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing toward the epic grandeur envisioned by HP (then, HPE now) starting in 2014. Certainly, senior HPE managers have high ambitions for the new architecture: nothing less than a new paradigm, called Memory-Driven Computing (MDC), that puts memory, not processing, at the center of the computing platform.

HPE positions The Machine as the architecture for exascale-class performance by the time it’s commercially available in 2019 or 2020, which is roughly the timeframe the Department of U.S. Energy’s Exascale Computing Project has established for delivering an exascale machine. Along with completion of the new platform, HPE hopes will come a broad ecosystem of complementary development. The prototype unveiled today contains an oceanic 160 terabytes (TB) of memory, capable (according to HPE) of simultaneously working with the data held in every book in the Library of Congress five times over – or approximately 160 million books.

“It has never been possible to hold and manipulate whole data sets of this size in a single-memory system, and this is just a glimpse of the immense potential of Memory-Driven Computing,” the company said in its announcement.

HPE’s Kirk Bresniker

For all the promise of The Machine, today’s announcement is not startling. HPE has regularly issued updates on The Machine’s development, most recently last November, when the company said it had successfully demonstrated an MDC proof-of-concept prototype. Today’s news: the prototype operates at scale, Kirk Bresniker, Fellow/VP and chief architect of Hewlett Packard Labs, told HPCwire sister publication EnterpriseTech.

“We wanted to build a system big enough to hold really interesting problems in a way that had never been done before,” Bresniker said. “So we somewhat arbitrarily picked a scale – 160 TBs of memory on a memory fabric. Compare that to the paltry 2 GBs of memory on a typical laptop, that’s 80,000 times bigger. No one’s ever constructed a memory system that large before.”

Regarding computation power, the prototype has an optimized Linux-based operating system (OS) running across 40, 32-core ThunderX2, Cavium’s flagship second generation dual socket-capable ARMv8-A workload optimized System on a Chip.

In addition, The Machine has a Photonics/Optical communication links, including the new X1 photonics module, which HPE said are online and operational. And it has software programming tools designed to take advantage of abundant persistent memory.

Bresniker said Memory-Driven Computing has great potential because the architecture curtails so much of the data movement required for traditional computing.

“Rather than have a GPU hanging off of a PCI Express link – and you have to manage the data back and forth from the general purpose processor out to the GPU and back again – because I have a memory fabric that has an open interface I can place those acceleration resources directly, in direct communications, on the memory fabric,” he said.

Today’s announcement marks a transition beyond internal proof-of-concept.

“We’ve moved on from proving out that each individual piece is working,” said Bresniker, “to the point where now…we can do the handoff from the teams working on the hardware, the firmware, the operating system, to the application development teams, to begin to flex their minds and muscle around the ramifications for having this kind of a platform available to them for the first time.”

From the start of this project, Bresniker said, HPE has taken the somewhat unconventional and risky approach of sharing information about the new platform so that third parties can do their development work based on The Machine specifications.

“We always knew this had to be bigger than us, that this is a conversation that has to happen across the industry,” he said. “That’s why we started to have the communications so early. When we announced this in 2014, the prototype we’re showing off now was essentially a block diagram scrolled on my white board here in Palo Alto. But we wanted to have the conversation early because we wanted to work with the open source development communities, we needed to engage with them, we needed to engage with our software partners that we’ve traditionally had. We needed to engage with our component supply chain, all the memory, communications and computation components that need to understand how they fit into this memory fabric.”

Based on the current prototype, HPE said it expects the architecture could scale to an exabyte-scale single-memory system and, beyond that, to a nearly-limitless pool of memory – 4,096 yottabytes. For “context, that is 250,000 times the entire digital universe today,” HPE said in its announcement. “With that amount of memory, it will be possible to simultaneously work with every digital health record of every person on earth; every piece of data from Facebook; every trip of Google’s autonomous vehicles; and every data set from space exploration all at the same time – getting to answers and uncovering new opportunities at unprecedented speeds.”

“Cavium shares HPE’s vision for Memory-Driven Computing and is proud to collaborate with HPE on The Machine program,” said Syed Ali, president and CEO of Cavium Inc. ”HPE’s groundbreaking innovations in Memory-Driven Computing will enable a new compute paradigm for a variety of applications, including the next generation data center, cloud and high performance computing.”

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!

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

ASC18: Tough Applications & Tough Luck

May 17, 2018

The applications at the ASC18 Student Cluster Competition were tough. Tougher than the $3.99 steak special at your local greasy spoon restaurant. The apps are so tough that even Chuck Norris backs away from them slowly. Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and the technology challenges ahead. These discussions happened in Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

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…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

PRACE 2017 Annual Report: Exascale Aspirations; Industry Collaboration; HPC Training

May 15, 2018

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) today released its annual report showcasing 2017 activities and providing a glimpse into thinking about Read more…

By John Russell

US Forms AI Brain Trust

May 11, 2018

Amid calls for a U.S. strategy for promoting AI development, the Trump administration is forming a senior-level panel to help coordinate government and industry research efforts. The Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence was announced Thursday (May 10) during a White House summit organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Read more…

By George Leopold

Emerging Advanced Scale Tech Trends Focus of Annual Tabor Conference

May 9, 2018

At Tabor Communications' annual Advanced Scale Forum (ASF) held this week in Austin, the focus was on enterprise adoption of HPC-class technologies and high performance data analytics (HPDA). It’s a confab that brings together end users (CIOs, IT planners, department heads) and vendors and encourages... Read more…

By the Editorial Team

Google I/O 2018: AI Everywhere; TPU 3.0 Delivers 100+ Petaflops but Requires Liquid Cooling

May 9, 2018

All things AI dominated discussion at yesterday’s opening of Google’s I/O 2018 developers meeting covering much of Google's near-term product roadmap. The e Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

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

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

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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