Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

By Tiffany Trader

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016.

In his opening keynote, Naveen Rao, general manager of Intel’s artificial intelligence products group and former CEO of Nervana Systems, revealed that the first commercial Nervana product will debut in late 2019 and will be called NNP L-1000 (codename: Spring Crest). Intel anticipates that Spring Crest will offer 3-4x the training performance of its development product Lake Crest. Originally scheduled for availability last year, Lake Crest is being used as a software development vehicle to gather feedback from early partners. This is reminiscent of how Intel handled its first Phi product, Knights Ferry, a development prototype that was never widely available. And speaking of Phi, Knights Mill, the ML-specific Phi product that had a quiet launch late last year, was absent from Intel’s AI roapmap update, indicating it may be the end of the road for that line.

Another product we didn’t hear about was Knights Crest, the original intended follow-on to Lake Crest that was to integrate Intel Xeon processors with Nervana technology. The branding overlap with the Phi line was always confusing anyway, so if Intel let go of that codename it’s probably for the best, but it will be interesting to see if Intel reprises its plans for a joint Xeon-Nervana chip.

Source: screen shot of Intel video material, depicting Lake Crest architecture

Lake Crest incorporates 12 cores, each equipped with two math core units, delivering 40 peak tera-ops of performance and drawing less than 210 watts per device. Each chip sports 32 GB of high bandwidth memory (HBM2) and offers 2.4 terabits per second off-chip I/O bandwidth at less than 790 nanoseconds of latency.

High compute utilization and robust model parallelism were Intel’s primary goals in building its Nervana platform and the company believes that Lake Crest accomplishes both. According to Intel benchmarking, General Matrix to Matrix Multiplication (GEMM) operations have achieved more than 96 percent utilization, representing around 38 tera-ops of actual, not theoretical, performance on a single chip. The company further claims Lake Crest achieves 96.2 percent scaling efficiency. See Rao’s blog post for a drill-down on the details.

In that post, Rao writes: “Our industry talks a lot about maximum theoretical performance or TOP/s numbers; however, the reality is that much of that compute is meaningless unless the architecture has a memory subsystem capable of supporting high utilization of those compute elements. Additionally, much of the industry’s published performance data uses large square matrices that aren’t generally found in real-world neural networks.

“At Intel, we have focused on creating a balanced architecture for neural networks that also includes high chip-to-chip bandwidth at low latency. Initial performance benchmarks on our NNP family show strong competitive results in both utilization and interconnect.”

Rao also announced that Spring Crest will support bfloat16, an emerging numerical format being adopted for neural networks. “Essentially this is taking a 32-bit floating point number and culling it down to 16 bits, which allows you to use I/O more effectively because you’re moving half the bits around and allows you to build smaller multipliers and have more of them on a die and do it at lower power,” said Rao, adding that bfloat16 can achieve the same algorithmic performance and convergence as the larger 32-bit memory. Intel will initially introduce bfloat16 to its Nervana platform and says it plans to extend that support across its AI product lines.

As a final point, Rao teased that Intel is also working on a discrete accelerator for inference, and that more details would be forthcoming.

Intel’s animation of Nervana Lake Crest architecture:

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!

New Algorithm Overcomes Hurdle in Fusion Energy Simulation

January 15, 2022

The exascale era has brought with it a bevy of fusion energy simulation projects, aiming to stabilize the notoriously delicate—and so far, unmastered—clean energy source that would transform the world virtually overn Read more…

Summit Powers Novel Protein Function Prediction Work

January 13, 2022

There are hundreds of millions of sequenced proteins and counting—but only 170,000 have had their structures solved by researchers, bottlenecking our understanding of proteins and their functions across organisms’ ge Read more…

Q-Ctrl – Tackling Quantum Hardware’s Noise Problems with Software

January 13, 2022

Implementing effective error mitigation and correction is a critical next step in advancing quantum computing. While a lot of attention has been given to efforts to improve the underlying ‘noisy’ hardware, there's be Read more…

Nvidia Defends Arm Acquisition Deal: a ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’

January 13, 2022

GPU-maker Nvidia is continuing to try to keep its proposed acquisition of British chip IP vendor Arm Ltd. alive, despite continuing concerns from several governments around the world. In its latest action, Nvidia filed a 29-page response to the U.K. government to point out a list of potential benefits of the proposed $40 billion deal. Read more…

SDSC Supercomputers Helped Enable Safer School Reopenings

January 13, 2022

The omicron variant of Covid-19 is sending cases skyrocketing around the world. Still, many national and local governments are hesitant to disrupt society in major ways as they did in 2020, opting instead to leave school Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

shutterstock 377963800

New – Amazon EC2 Hpc6a Instance Optimized for High Performance Computing

High Performance Computing (HPC) allows scientists and engineers to solve complex, compute-intensive problems such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), weather forecasting, and genomics. Read more…

Voyager AI Supercomputer Gives Investigators New Deep Learning Experimental Platform

January 13, 2022

As human-caused climate change warms the planet, creating drier conditions across the Western U.S., wildfire intensity has grown. California’s wildfires over the last few years have devastated land, families, and commu Read more…

Q-Ctrl – Tackling Quantum Hardware’s Noise Problems with Software

January 13, 2022

Implementing effective error mitigation and correction is a critical next step in advancing quantum computing. While a lot of attention has been given to effort Read more…

Nvidia Defends Arm Acquisition Deal: a ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’

January 13, 2022

GPU-maker Nvidia is continuing to try to keep its proposed acquisition of British chip IP vendor Arm Ltd. alive, despite continuing concerns from several governments around the world. In its latest action, Nvidia filed a 29-page response to the U.K. government to point out a list of potential benefits of the proposed $40 billion deal. Read more…

Nvidia Buys HPC Cluster Management Company Bright Computing

January 10, 2022

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia today announced that it has acquired HPC cluster management company Bright Computing for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s bid to purchase semiconductor IP company Arm, which has been stymied by regulatory challenges, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that aims to expand... Read more…

SC21 Panel on Programming Models – Tackling Data Movement, DSLs, More

January 6, 2022

How will programming future systems differ from current practice? This is an ever-present question in computing. Yet it has, perhaps, never been more pressing g Read more…

Edge to Exascale: A Trend to Watch in 2022

January 5, 2022

Edge computing is an approach in which the data is processed and analyzed at the point of origin – the place where the data is generated. This is done to make data more accessible to end-point devices, or users, and to reduce the response time for data requests. HPC-class computing and networking technologies are critical to many edge use cases, and the intersection of HPC and ‘edge’ promises to be a hot topic in 2022. Read more…

Citing ‘Shortfalls,’ NOAA Targets Hundred-Fold HPC Increase Over Next Decade

January 5, 2022

From upgrading the Global Forecast System (GFS) to acquiring new supercomputers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been making big moves in the HPC sphere over the last few years—but now it’s setting the bar even higher. In a new report, NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) highlighted... Read more…

HPC Career Notes: January 2022 Edition

January 4, 2022

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it Read more…

Climavision Targets Weather Forecasting Through HPC Cloud Bursts

January 4, 2022

If Climavision isn’t on your radar just yet, that’s understandable: the company launched from stealth just six months ago, emerging in June with a formidable $100 million in funding. Its promise: to roll out a combination of numerical weather prediction (NWP), AI, traditional weather observations, satellite data... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Nvidia Buys HPC Cluster Management Company Bright Computing

January 10, 2022

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia today announced that it has acquired HPC cluster management company Bright Computing for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s bid to purchase semiconductor IP company Arm, which has been stymied by regulatory challenges, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that aims to expand... Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Lessons from LLVM: An SC21 Fireside Chat with Chris Lattner

December 27, 2021

Today, the LLVM compiler infrastructure world is essentially inescapable in HPC. But back in the 2000 timeframe, LLVM (low level virtual machine) was just getting its start as a new way of thinking about how to overcome shortcomings in the Java Virtual Machine. At the time, Chris Lattner was a graduate student of... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Three Universities Team for NSF-Funded ‘ACES’ Reconfigurable Supercomputer Prototype

September 23, 2021

As Moore’s law slows, HPC developers are increasingly looking for speed gains in specialized code and specialized hardware – but this specialization, in turn, can make testing and deploying code trickier than ever. Now, researchers from Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana... Read more…

Top500: No Exascale, Fugaku Still Reigns, Polaris Debuts at #12

November 15, 2021

No exascale for you* -- at least, not within the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) territory of the latest Top500 list, issued today from the 33rd annual Supercomputing Conference (SC21), held in-person in St. Louis, Mo., and virtually, from Nov. 14–19. "We were hoping to have the first exascale system on this list but that didn’t happen," said Top500 co-author... Read more…

TACC Unveils Lonestar6 Supercomputer

November 1, 2021

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is unveiling its latest supercomputer: Lonestar6, a three peak petaflops Dell system aimed at supporting researchers Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire