EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

By Tiffany Trader

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development.

Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work to develop a complete HPC system based on ARM Cortex processors and Xilinx Ultrascale FPGAs. The goal is to deploy an energy-efficient petaflops system by 2020 and lay a path to achieve exascale capability in the 2022-23 timeframe.

All told, the European Commission is planning a €50 million investment for the EuroEXA group of projects, spanning “research, innovation and action across applications, system software, hardware, networking, storage, liquid cooling and data centre technologies.”

John Goodacre, professor of computer architectures at the University of Manchester said, “To deliver the demands of next generation computing and Exa-Scale HPC, it is not possible to simply optimize the components of the existing platform. In EuroEXA, we have taken a holistic approach to break-down the inefficiencies of the historic abstractions and bring significant innovation and co-design across the entire computing stack.”

EuroEXA has set an objective (link) to bring “multiple European HPC projects and partners together with the industrial SME focus of [Maxeler] for FPGA data-flow; [Icetope] for infrastructure; [Allinea] for HPC tooling and [ZeroPoint Technologies] to collapse the memory bottleneck; to co-design a ground-breaking platform capable of scaling peak performance to 400 PFLOP in a peak system power envelope of 30MW; over four times the performance at four times the energy efficiency of today’s HPC platforms. Further, we target a PUE parity rating of 1.0 through use of renewables and immersion-based cooling.”

An integrated and operational prototype machine will be validated with applications from across climate/weather, physics/energy and life-science/bioinformatics domains.

The project is coordinated at the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems in Greece and has 15 project partners across eight countries:

Spain — Barcelona Supercomputing Center
United Kingdom — ARM-UK, Iceotope, Maxeler Technologies, The University Of Manchester, The Hartree Centre of STFC, ECMWF (European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts)
Greece — FORTH (Foundation For Research And Technology Hellas), Synelixis Solutions Ltd
Belgium — IMEC
Sweden — ZeroPoint Technologies
Netherlands — Neurasmus
Italy — INFN (Istituto Nazionale Di Fisica Nucleare), INAF (Istituto Nazionale Di Astrofisica)
Germany — Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

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