AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

By Tiffany Trader

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. AMD Epyc, delivered to the market earlier this year, has been winning – convincingly winning – the price/performance bake-off against Xeon. Wall Street has fallen in love with AMD stock (though with some slackening of late). And the company moved off the market share dime for high end server chips; in fact, AMD stands by its expectation of hitting the “mid-single digits” for market share by the end of the year. And we’re seeing Epyc pop up in some major systems wins, such as HPE’s announcement at SC18 that it will deliver the fastest supercomputer in the world for industrial production, an Epyc-powered system (more on that below).

There’s no arguing: AMD has shined in 2018. But it still has a hill to climb after backing out of the datacenter server processor and HPC markets over the last half-decade or so.

AMD will tell you the company dropped out of those markets for a server processor re-set, the result of which is Epyc. All well and good, but there’s a price to pay for a market drop out: a credibility hit. When you ask managers of IT organizations and HPC centers to bet against Intel, you’re asking them to take a risk. Now, with a processor technology buyers can love, trust remains the missing piece.

This is why everyone at AMD, starting with Lisa Su, is laser focused on executing the AMD roadmap and touting that execution to anyone who’ll listen. AMD believes hitting milestones not only reestablishes credibility, it stands in contrast to the market leader, which has had significant roadmap making challenges over the past 12 months.

“We set out to hit our milestones and deliver to our customers and we did it,” the CEO stated in her keynote at the AMD Next Horizon event in San Francisco last week (Nov. 6). Yes, that was the week leading into SC18 – it’s been a busy time for AMD and the reporters who cover them.

Putting the next-gen Eypc and Radeon GPU launch the week before the biggest HPC conference of the year gave AMD a strong hand coming into SC18. With up to 64-Zen2 cores, the 7nm Rome chip provides at least two times higher performance per core than first-generation Epyc chips. The revamped Radeon Instinct line, the MI60 and MI50, are the world’s first 7nm datacenter GPUs, and feature flexible mixed mixed-precision capabilities. Both families support PCIe gen4.

Traction for all three generations of Epyc (Naples, Rome and future-gen Milan) got a shot in the arm in the last few weeks, with four five major system wins showcasing AMD’s growing traction as well as the diversity of its partners and end users. [Editor’s note: article has been updated to include Finland’s next-gen system.]

In late October: the DOE in tandem with Berkeley Lab revealed Perlmutter (code-name: NERSC-9) would be built by Cray on its next-gen Shasta architecture with future generation Epycs (Milan) plus future-generation Nvidia GPUs. Perlmutter, due out in 2020 with a planned 100 petaflops (peak) performance, will put AMD solidly back on the leadership supercomputing map, a position it hasn’t enjoyed since the circa-2012 NCSA Blue Waters supercomputer, which is set to retire next year after getting a one-year reprieve (sys admins are currently ferrying data from Blue Waters to Frontera, the next NSF tier 1 system, deployed at TACC).

The High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS) revealed at SC that it is using the next generation AMD Eypc Rome processor to power what is anticipated to be the largest supercomputer in Europe and the world’s fastest supercomputer for industrial production. That system, named Hawk, will be built by HPE and will have a theoretical peak performance of 24 petaflops and consist of a 5,000-node cluster. It is set to debut in 2019.

Lawrence Livermore has signed on with system-builder Penguin Computing for an all AMD heterogeneous machine, what AMD calls A+A. That system, named Corona, will have 170 nodes incorporating more than 300 AMD Eypc 7401 processors and 300 AMD Radeon Instinct MI25 GPUs. With these current gen technologies, Corona will be delivered soon and is expected to come online for limited use by the end of the year. Lawrence Livermore reports that the unclassified computing cluster will provide unique capabilities for lab researchers and industry partners to explore data science, machine learning and big data analytics.

On Tuesday (Nov. 13) the Finnish IT Center for Science Ltd (CSC) announced that it had selected AMD future-gen Rome Epycs to power the second phase of its next-generation supercomputer and data management systems, to be supplied by Atos. The planned system, due to come online in spring 2020, will be comprised of BullSequana XH2000 servers with Rome processors and Mellanox HDR InfiniBand, plus tightly integrated storage. The phase 2 partition will extend the compute capacity of the phase one Intel Xeon Cascade Lake-equipped system, expected to be available to CSC researchers in summer 2019. CSC is the first customer of Atos’ BullSequana XH2000, which was launched on Monday at SC18.

Moving back over to the commercial sector, the F1 HAAS racing team has deployed current generation 7000-series Epyc processors as part of a Cray CS500 cluster that it will use for CFD simulation. “The combination of the system’s design and ability to handle the most demanding simulation and analytics workloads and the high-performance computing expertise of Cray helps the Haas F1 team optimize aerodynamics and more accurately predict and reduce drag, downforce and flow patterns around its race cars,” said Cray.

In addition, the University of Notre Dame Center for Research ComputingOregon State University and the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Italy have all also deployed AMD Epyc-based systems.

“One of the questions we got asked this week,” said Parma, Epyc HPC product/segment marketing leader at AMD, “was ‘do you have a favorite customer, favorite preferred customer?’ The answer is no, right now we are having a lot of success with a lot of different customers which is a great place to be right now.”

Other highlights from AMD announced this week include:

  • A preview of a new HB instance debuted on Microsoft Azure this week. HB VMs feature 60 AMD Epyc 7551 processor cores, 4 GB of RAM per CPU core, and no hyperthreading, according to Microsoft.
  • High-Frequency Epyc processor — The new AMD Epyc 7371 processor, introduced this week, was designed for workloads such as EDA and high-frequency trading. The new SKU is on track for production availability in the first quarter of 2019
  • ROCm 2.0 Open Software Platform— AMD also showcased the newest version of AMD ROCm, designed for scale and HPC, energy-efficient heterogeneous computing systems in an open environment.

Reached for comment, HPC market watcher Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research said, “We see a lot of potential interest in AMD Epyc in the HPC arena, at a time when many organizations are ready to reevaluate what architectures they build on moving forward. AMD offers a compelling x86 option to Intel. With little to lose, it’s not really a question of whether AMD will gain share, but rather how much share they’ll gain.”

Company leaders, though, are not taking any chances and continue to emphasize AMD’s commitment, dedication and follow-through.

“Focus, execution and delivery — that’s what makes AMD a bankable supplier,” said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer and senior vice president of technology and engineering, in his keynote address at AMD’s media and analyst event on Nov. 6. ”When we make the effort to go back into high performance, equally important with coming out with that first set of products in 2017 was the roadmap behind it because that’s what enterprise customers need. They want to know that you are delivering value today and they need full confidence in the roadmap going forward. That’s what we are doing that’s a game changer for AMD and for riding the acceptance of these new products in the market.”

Doug Black contributed to this report.

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!

IBM Research Scales to 11,400 Cores for EDA

August 5, 2021

For many HPC users, their needs are not evenly distributed throughout a year: some might need few – if any – resources for months, then they might need a very large system for a week. For those kinds of users, large Read more…

Careers in Cybersecurity Featured at PEARC21

August 5, 2021

The PEARC21 (Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing) Student Program featured a Cybersecurity Careers Panel. Five experts shared lessons learned from more than 100 years of combined experience. While it Read more…

HPC Career Notes: August 2021 Edition

August 4, 2021

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’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

The Promise (and Necessity) of Runtime Systems like Charm++ in Exascale Power Management

August 4, 2021

Big heterogeneous computer systems, especially forthcoming exascale computers, are power hungry and difficult to program effectively. This is, of course, not an unrecognized problem. In a recent blog, Charmworks’ CEO S Read more…

Digging into the Atos-Nimbix Deal: Big US HPC and Global Cloud Aspirations. Look out HPE?

August 2, 2021

Behind Atos’s deal announced last week to acquire HPC-cloud specialist Nimbix are ramped-up plans to penetrate the U.S. HPC market and global expansion of its HPC cloud capabilities. Nimbix will become “an Atos HPC c Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Pushing pixels, not data with NICE DCV

NICE DCV, our high-performance, low-latency remote-display protocol, was originally created for scientists and engineers who ran large workloads on far-away supercomputers, but needed to visualize data without moving it. Read more…

Berkeley Lab Makes Strides in Autonomous Discovery to Tackle the Data Deluge

August 2, 2021

Data production is outpacing the human capacity to process said data. Whether a giant radio telescope, a new particle accelerator or lidar data from autonomous cars, the sheer scale of the data generated is increasingly Read more…

Careers in Cybersecurity Featured at PEARC21

August 5, 2021

The PEARC21 (Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing) Student Program featured a Cybersecurity Careers Panel. Five experts shared lessons learn Read more…

Digging into the Atos-Nimbix Deal: Big US HPC and Global Cloud Aspirations. Look out HPE?

August 2, 2021

Behind Atos’s deal announced last week to acquire HPC-cloud specialist Nimbix are ramped-up plans to penetrate the U.S. HPC market and global expansion of its Read more…

What’s After Exascale? The Internet of Workflows Says HPE’s Nicolas Dubé

July 29, 2021

With the race to exascale computing in its final leg, it’s natural to wonder what the Post Exascale Era will look like. Nicolas Dubé, VP and chief technologist for HPE’s HPC business unit, agrees and shared his vision at Supercomputing Frontiers Europe 2021 held last week. The next big thing, he told the virtual audience at SFE21, is something that will connect HPC and (broadly) all of IT – into what Dubé calls The Internet of Workflows. Read more…

How UK Scientists Developed Transformative, HPC-Powered Coronavirus Sequencing System

July 29, 2021

In November 2020, the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) won the HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award for Best HPC Collaboration for its CLIMB-COVID sequencing project. Launched in March 2020, CLIMB-COVID has now resulted in the sequencing of over 675,000 coronavirus genomes – an increasingly critical task as variants like Delta threaten the tenuous prospect of a return to normalcy in much of the world. Read more…

IBM and University of Tokyo Roll Out Quantum System One in Japan

July 27, 2021

IBM and the University of Tokyo today unveiled an IBM Quantum System One as part of the IBM-Japan quantum program announced in 2019. The system is the second IB Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make it seem like it's two nodes behind? For Intel, the response was to change how it refers to its nodes with the aim of better reflecting its positioning within the leadership semiconductor manufacturing space. Intel revealed its new node nomenclature, and... Read more…

Will Approximation Drive Post-Moore’s Law HPC Gains?

July 26, 2021

“Hardware-based improvements are going to get more and more difficult,” said Neil Thompson, an innovation scholar at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). “I think that’s something that this crowd will probably, actually, be already familiar with.” Thompson, speaking... Read more…

With New Owner and New Roadmap, an Independent Omni-Path Is Staging a Comeback

July 23, 2021

Put on a shelf by Intel in 2019, Omni-Path faced a uncertain future, but under new custodian Cornelis Networks, OmniPath is looking to make a comeback as an independent high-performance interconnect solution. A "significant refresh" – called Omni-Path Express – is coming later this year according to the company. Cornelis Networks formed last September as a spinout of Intel's Omni-Path division. Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Berkeley Lab Debuts Perlmutter, World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer

May 27, 2021

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held virtually at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) today marked the official launch of Perlmutter – aka NERSC-9 – the GPU-accelerated supercomputer built by HPE in partnership with Nvidia and AMD. Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer called Dojo to process truly vast amounts of video data. It’s a beast! … A truly useful exaflop at de facto FP32.” Read more…

Google Launches TPU v4 AI Chips

May 20, 2021

Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke for only one minute and 42 seconds about the company’s latest TPU v4 Tensor Processing Units during his keynote at the Google I Read more…

CentOS Replacement Rocky Linux Is Now in GA and Under Independent Control

June 21, 2021

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is announcing the general availability of Rocky Linux, release 8.4, designed as a drop-in replacement for the soon-to-be discontinued CentOS. The GA release is launching six-and-a-half months after Red Hat deprecated its support for the widely popular, free CentOS server operating system. The Rocky Linux development effort... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Iran Gains HPC Capabilities with Launch of ‘Simorgh’ Supercomputer

May 18, 2021

Iran is said to be developing domestic supercomputing technology to advance the processing of scientific, economic, political and military data, and to strengthen the nation’s position in the age of AI and big data. On Sunday, Iran unveiled the Simorgh supercomputer, which will deliver.... 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…

Leading Solution Providers


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 I Read more…

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

Microsoft to Provide World’s Most Powerful Weather & Climate Supercomputer for UK’s Met Office

April 22, 2021

More than 14 months ago, the UK government announced plans to invest £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion) into weather and climate supercomputing, including procuremen Read more…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

Q&A with Jim Keller, CTO of Tenstorrent, and an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2021

April 22, 2021

As part of our HPCwire Person to Watch series, we are happy to present our interview with Jim Keller, president and chief technology officer of Tenstorrent. One of the top chip architects of our time, Keller has had an impactful career. Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

Senate Debate on Bill to Remake NSF – the Endless Frontier Act – Begins

May 18, 2021

The U.S. Senate today opened floor debate on the Endless Frontier Act which seeks to remake and expand the National Science Foundation by creating a technology Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow