Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

By Tiffany Trader

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing components with Intel Xeon, AMD Epyc, IBM Power, and Arm server chips all in the mix (and that’s just on the CPU side). A partnership announced today between Cray (now part of HPE) and Japanese IT giant Fujitsu is indicative of this trend and of a growing interest among leading HPC sites to field architecturally diverse systems that can serve double duty for simulation and AI processing.

The duo announced a partnership that will have Cray developing a commercial supercomputer powered by the Fujitsu A64FX Arm-based processor — that is of course the same chip going into the post-K “Fugaku” supercomputer to be deployed at RIKEN in 2021.

The new HPE-Cray system, part of the Cray CS500 lineup, will employ the Fujitsu A64FX Arm-based processor with Arm Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE) and second-generation high-bandwidth memory (HBM). Named as customers in today’s release are Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, RIKEN Center for Computational Science, Stony Brook University, and University of Bristol. Cray and Fujitsu said they will be exploring engineering collaboration, co-development, and joint go-to-market strategies to meet customer demand as supercomputing extends into the exascale era.

A64FX block diagram

“Our partnership with Fujitsu means customers now have a broader choice of processor technology to address their pressing computational needs,” said Fred Kohout, senior vice president and CMO at Cray. “We are delivering the development-to-deployment experience customers have come to expect from Cray, including exploratory development to the Cray Programming Environment (CPE) for Arm processors to optimize performance and scalability with additional support for Scalable Vector Extensions and high bandwidth memory.”

HBM2 on A64FX provides a maximum theoretical memory bandwidth greater than 1 terabyte per second (TB/s), a significant increase over DDR4, according to the companies.

“It’s a pleasure to partner with Cray on building technologies for the next era of computing,” said Takeshi Horie, corporate executive officer, vice head of service Platform Business Group at Fujitsu. “Both companies have a strong legacy of supercomputing and vector processing. The A64FX Arm processor was designed to empower a wide range of data-intensive applications and is the world’s first CPU to adopt the SVE of the Armv8-A instruction set architecture, specifically extended for supercomputers.”

FX1000

A few hours after the joint Cray-Fujitsu announcement was made, Fujitsu launched its own A64FX machines, the PRIMEHPC FX1000 and PRIMEHPC FX700 models that will employ the technology developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu for the Fugaku supercomputer.

As with the new Cray offering, the “Fujitsu Supercomputer PRIMEHPC” series will be equipped with the A64FX chip with Scalable Vector Extension (SVE), an extension of the Armv8-A architecture for supercomputers. “The CPU not only achieves a high memory bandwidth by using HBM2, a high-performance die-stacked memory, but also can handle half-precision arithmetic and multiply-add, which are important in such technologies as deep learning. In this way, the new supercomputers are expected to expand its use in the field of AI,” said Fujitsu.

For customers inside Japan, FX1000 deployments start at a minimum of 48 nodes, FX700 starts at a minimum of two nodes; for countries outside Japan, the entry point for FX1000 is 192 nodes and FX700 starts at a minimum of 128 nodes.

In a management direction briefing held in September, Fujitsu shared strategy for selling the new systems. “They are not being offered as stand-alone hardware, but alongside services, and we hope that they will be used in a variety of fields. At the same time, we introduced these products with the understanding that competing with just stand-alone hardware makes for an extremely difficult business environment,” said Takahito Tokita, President and Representative Director at Fujitsu Ltd.

Fujitsu will be presenting on its PRIMEHPC FX Series architecture at SC19 on Thursday, Nov. 21 (link).

Cray’s A64FX-powered CS500 system is scheduled to debut mid-2020; while Fujitsu says its new systems will start shipping in March 2020. It makes sense that Fujitsu would have a bit of a head start, but we’ll see. Fujitsu has not disclosed any customer wins yet (outside of Riken/Fugaku, of course, the flagship custom system), while Cray has four customers on record.

Among the first to purchase a Cray-Fujitsu system is Stony Brook University. Ookami, Japanese for wolf, is a $5 million testbed project funded by the NSF and conducted in collaboration with RIKEN CCS in Japan. “Memory-bandwidth-intensive applications will be especially accelerated by the ultra high-bandwidth memory while still being able to employ familiar and successful multi-core programming models,” said Robert Harrison, principal investigator and project director for Stony Brook University.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, future home of Frontier (the Cray-AMD exascale system), is another early customer. Jeff Nichols, associate lab director for computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, commented that access “will enable our scientists to experiment with possible system architectures for the Exascale Era and advance the DOE mission.”

Los Alamos National Laboratory will also be testing out the new architecture. “The most demanding computing work at LANL involves sparse, irregular, multi-physics, multi-link-scale, highly resolved, long-running 3D simulations. There are few existing architectures that currently serve this workload well. We are excited to see a potential solution and are happy to be helping prove this Cray and Fujitsu technology is a viable alternative for this need. Having this type of capability will be quite complementary to other resources in the NNSA computing complex,” said Gary Grider, deputy division leader, HPC Division at Los Alamos.

In the UK, the University of Bristol, an early pioneer and proponent of Arm64 for HPC, is planning to build Isambard 2 on the Cray-Fujitsu architecture. Simon McIntosh-Smith, professor of high-performance computing at the University of Bristol and winner of the 2018 HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award for leadership, said his group expects to make these new technologies available to UK scientists later in 2020.

More Choices…

Globally, HPC efforts are increasingly reaching beyond traditional x86 suppliers to meet their computing requirements, spurred by the twin mandates of maintaining technological leadership and protecting national interests. The European Processor Initiative, which prioritizes technological self-reliance for the EU, is developing custom chips using Arm, RISC-V and FPGAs. RIKEN, of course, is working to field Fugaku in 2021, using primarily Japanese technologies. China has multiple homegrown technologies powering its largest supercomputers.

In the U.S., the next batch of leadership-class systems (going by current disclosures) will employ technologies from Cray/HPE, Intel, AMD, Nvidia and Mellanox. Sandia National Laboratories fielded the world’s first petascale Arm supercomputer, Astra, powered by Marvell/Cavium ThunderX2 processors in an HPE system. And the Tri-Lab Vanguard project was initiated to explore and develop Arm technologies for Sandia in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Lab.

At ISC in June, Nvidia announced it would be ramping up support for accelerated-ARM (Arm+GPUs) to a chorus of endorsements from Cray, Marvell, RIKEN and others. We expect updates from all the relevant players at SC19.

There is also growing interest in the vector architecture of another Japanese company, NEC. Los Alamos National Laboratory and the United States Naval Research Laboratory are both presenting on early work and benchmarking of the NEC SX-Aurora TSUBASA Vector Engine at NEC’s Aurora Forum, to be held at SC19 on Monday, Nov. 18 (link).

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!

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

AWS Arm-based Graviton3 Instances Now in Preview

December 1, 2021

Three years after unveiling the first generation of its AWS Graviton chip-powered instances in 2018, Amazon Web Services announced that the third generation of the processors – the AWS Graviton3 – will power all-new Amazon Elastic Compute 2 (EC2) C7g instances that are now available in preview. Debuting at the AWS re:Invent 2021... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies participated and, one of them, Graphcore, even held a separ Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2021 Edition

December 1, 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…

AWS Solution Channel

Running a 3.2M vCPU HPC Workload on AWS with YellowDog

Historically, advances in fields such as meteorology, healthcare, and engineering, were achieved through large investments in on-premises computing infrastructure. Upfront capital investment and operational complexity have been the accepted norm of large-scale HPC research. Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

Raja Koduri and Satoshi Matsuoka Discuss the Future of HPC at SC21

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Intel's Raja Koduri and Riken's Satoshi Matsuoka in St. Louis for an off-the-cuff conversation about their SC21 experience, what comes after exascale and why they are collaborating. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics (AXG) group, leads the team... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... 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…

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…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... 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…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In 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…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was 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…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

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…

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... 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…

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…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire