IBM’s Upcoming Z Series Chip Gains On-Chip AI Acceleration and New Name: Telum

By Todd R. Weiss

August 23, 2021

In a major refresh of its Z Series chips, IBM is adding on-chip AI acceleration capabilities to allow enterprise customers to perform deep learning inferencing while transactions are taking place to capture business insights and fight fraud in real-time.

IBM unveiled the latest Z chip today (Monday) at the annual Hot Chips 33 conference, which is being held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first Z chip, used in IBM’s System Z mainframes, that won’t follow a traditional numeric naming pattern used in the past. Instead of following the previous z15 chip with a z16 moniker, the new processor is being called IBM Telum (telum is Latin for javelin).

This will be IBM’s first processor to include on-chip AI acceleration, according to the company. Designed for customers across a wide variety of uses, including banking, finance, trading, insurance applications and customer interactions, the Telum processors have been in development for the past three years. The first Telum-based systems are planned for release in the first half of 2022.

Ross Mauri of IBM

One of the major strengths of the new Telum chips is that they are designed to enable applications to run efficiently where their data resides, giving enterprises more flexibility with their most critical workloads, Ross Mauri, the general manager of IBM Z, said in a briefing with reporters on the announcement before Hot Chips.

“From an AI point of view, I have been listening to our clients for several years and they are telling me that they can’t run their AI deep learning inferences in their transactions the way they want to,” said Mauri. “They really want to bring AI into every transaction. And the types of clients I am talking to are running 1,000, 10,000, 50,000 transactions per second. We are talking high volume, high velocity transactions that are complex, with multiple database reads and writes and full recovery for … transactions in banking, finance, retail, insurance and more.”

By integrating mid-transaction AI inferencing into the Telum chips, it will be a huge breakthrough for fraud detection, said Mauri.

“You hear about fraud detection all the time,” he said. “Well, I think we are going to be able to move from fraud detection to fraud prevention. I think this is a real game changer when it comes to the business world, and I am really excited about that.”

Inside the Telum Architecture

Christian Jacobi of IBM

Christian Jacobi, an IBM distinguished engineer and the chief architect for IBM Z processor design, said that the Telum chip design is specifically optimized to run these kinds of mission critical, heavy duty transaction processing and batch processing workloads, while ensuring top-notch security and availability.

“We have designed this accelerator using the AI core coming from the IBM AI research center,” in cooperation with the IBM Research team, the IBM Z chip design team and the IBM Z firmware and software development team, said Jacobi. It is the first IBM chip created using technology from the IBM Research AI hardware center.

“The goal for this processor and the AI accelerator was to enable embedding AI with super low latency directly into the transactions without needing to send the data off-platform, which brings all sorts of latency inconsistencies and security concerns,” said Jacobi. “Sending data over a network, oftentimes personal and private data, requires cryptography and auditing of security standards that creates a lot of complexity in an enterprise environment. We have designed this accelerator to operate directly on the data using virtual address mechanisms and the data protection mechanisms that naturally apply to any other thing on the IBM Z processor.”

To achieve the low latencies, IBM engineers directly connected the accelerator to the on-chip cache infrastructure, which can directly access model data and transaction data from the caches, he explained. “It enables low batch counts so that we do not have to wait for multiple transactions to arrive of the same model type. All of that is geared towards enabling millisecond range inference tasks so that they can be done as part of the transaction processing without impacting their service level agreements … and have the results available to be able to utilize the AI inference result as part of the transaction processing.

The new Telum chips are manufactured for IBM by Samsung using a 7nm Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) process.

The chips have a new design compared to IBM’s existing z15 chips, according to Jacobi. Today’s z15 chips use dual chip modules, but the Telum chips will use a single module.

“Four of those modules will be plugged into one drawer, basically a motherboard with four sockets,” he said. “In the prior generations, we used two different chip types – a processor chip and a system control chip that contained a physical L4 cache, and that system control hub chip also acted as a hub whenever two processor chips needed to communicate with each other.”

Dropping the system control chip enabled the designers to reduce the latencies, he said. “When one chip needs to talk to another chip, we can implement a flat topology, where each of the eight chips in a drawer has a direct connection to the seven other chips in the drawer. That optimizes latencies for cache interactions and memory access across the drawer.”

Jacobi said that the Telum chips will provide a 40 percent performance improvement at the socket level over the company’s previous z15 chips, which is boosted in part by its extra cores.

Each Telum processor contains eight processor cores and use a deep super-scalar, out-of-order instruction pipeline. Running with more than 5GHz clock frequency, the redesigned cache and chip-interconnection infrastructure provides 32MB cache per core and can scale to 32 Telum chips. The dual-chip module design contains 22 billion transistors and 19 miles of wire on 17 metal layers.

 

About That Z Series Name Change

The upcoming Telum chips will show up in IBM’s Z Series and LinuxONE systems as the main processor chip for both product lines, said IBM’s Mauri. They are not superseding the Z Series chips, he said.

So, does that mean that z16, z17 and other future Z chips are no longer on the roadmap?

“No, said Mauri. “It just means that we never named our chips before. We are naming it this time because we are proud of the innovation and breakthroughs and think that it is unique in what it does. And that is the only thing. I think z15 will still be around and there will be future generations, many future generations.”

Read the full version of this story with analyst insights at sister publication EnterpriseAI.news.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

Under The Wire: Nearly HPC News (June 13, 2024)

June 13, 2024

As managing editor of the major global HPC news source, the term "news fire hose" is often mentioned. The analogy is quite correct. In any given week, there are many interesting stories, and only a few ever become headli Read more…

Quantum Tech Sector Hiring Stays Soft

June 13, 2024

New job announcements in the quantum tech sector declined again last month, according to an Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) report issued last week. “Globally, the number of new, public postings for Qu Read more…

Labs Keep Supercomputers Alive for Ten Years as Vendors Pull Support Early

June 12, 2024

Laboratories are running supercomputers for much longer, beyond the typical lifespan, as vendors prematurely deprecate the hardware and stop providing support. A typical supercomputer lifecycle is about five to six years Read more…

MLPerf Training 4.0 – Nvidia Still King; Power and LLM Fine Tuning Added

June 12, 2024

There are really two stories packaged in the most recent MLPerf  Training 4.0 results, released today. The first, of course, is the results. Nvidia (currently king of accelerated computing) wins again, sweeping all nine Read more…

Highlights from GlobusWorld 2024: The Conference for Reimagining Research IT

June 11, 2024

The Globus user conference, now in its 22nd year, brought together over 180 researchers, system administrators, developers, and IT leaders from 55 top research computing centers, national labs, federal agencies, and univ Read more…

Nvidia Shipped 3.76 Million Data-center GPUs in 2023, According to Study

June 10, 2024

Nvidia had an explosive 2023 in data-center GPU shipments, which totaled roughly 3.76 million units, according to a study conducted by semiconductor analyst firm TechInsights. Nvidia's GPU shipments in 2023 grew by more Read more…

Under The Wire: Nearly HPC News (June 13, 2024)

June 13, 2024

As managing editor of the major global HPC news source, the term "news fire hose" is often mentioned. The analogy is quite correct. In any given week, there are Read more…

Labs Keep Supercomputers Alive for Ten Years as Vendors Pull Support Early

June 12, 2024

Laboratories are running supercomputers for much longer, beyond the typical lifespan, as vendors prematurely deprecate the hardware and stop providing support. Read more…

MLPerf Training 4.0 – Nvidia Still King; Power and LLM Fine Tuning Added

June 12, 2024

There are really two stories packaged in the most recent MLPerf  Training 4.0 results, released today. The first, of course, is the results. Nvidia (currently Read more…

Highlights from GlobusWorld 2024: The Conference for Reimagining Research IT

June 11, 2024

The Globus user conference, now in its 22nd year, brought together over 180 researchers, system administrators, developers, and IT leaders from 55 top research Read more…

Nvidia Shipped 3.76 Million Data-center GPUs in 2023, According to Study

June 10, 2024

Nvidia had an explosive 2023 in data-center GPU shipments, which totaled roughly 3.76 million units, according to a study conducted by semiconductor analyst fir Read more…

ASC24 Expert Perspective: Dongarra, Hoefler, Yong Lin

June 7, 2024

One of the great things about being at an ASC (Asia Supercomputer Community) cluster competition is getting the chance to interview various industry experts and Read more…

HPC and Climate: Coastal Hurricanes Around the World Are Intensifying Faster

June 6, 2024

Hurricanes are among the world's most destructive natural hazards. Their environment shapes their ability to deliver damage; conditions like warm ocean waters, Read more…

ASC24: The Battle, The Apps, and The Competitors

June 5, 2024

The ASC24 (Asia Supercomputer Community) Student Cluster Competition was one for the ages. More than 350 university teams worked for months in the preliminary competition to earn one of the 25 final competition slots. The winning teams... Read more…

Atos Outlines Plans to Get Acquired, and a Path Forward

May 21, 2024

Atos – via its subsidiary Eviden – is the second major supercomputer maker outside of HPE, while others have largely dropped out. The lack of integrators and Atos' financial turmoil have the HPC market worried. If Atos goes under, HPE will be the only major option for building large-scale systems. Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

Everyone Except Nvidia Forms Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Consortium

May 30, 2024

Consider the GPU. An island of SIMD greatness that makes light work of matrix math. Originally designed to rapidly paint dots on a computer monitor, it was then Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

Nvidia’s New Blackwell GPU Can Train AI Models with Trillions of Parameters

March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest and fastest GPU, codenamed Blackwell, is here and will underpin the company's AI plans this year. The chip offers performance improvements from Read more…

Synopsys Eats Ansys: Does HPC Get Indigestion?

February 8, 2024

Recently, it was announced that Synopsys is buying HPC tool developer Ansys. Started in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1970 as Swanson Analysis Systems, Inc. (SASI) by John Swanson (and eventually renamed), Ansys serves the CAE (Computer Aided Engineering)/multiphysics engineering simulation market. Read more…

Some Reasons Why Aurora Didn’t Take First Place in the Top500 List

May 15, 2024

The makers of the Aurora supercomputer, which is housed at the Argonne National Laboratory, gave some reasons why the system didn't make the top spot on the Top Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD MI3000A

How AMD May Get Across the CUDA Moat

October 5, 2023

When discussing GenAI, the term "GPU" almost always enters the conversation and the topic often moves toward performance and access. Interestingly, the word "GPU" is assumed to mean "Nvidia" products. (As an aside, the popular Nvidia hardware used in GenAI are not technically... Read more…

The NASA Black Hole Plunge

May 7, 2024

We have all thought about it. No one has done it, but now, thanks to HPC, we see what it looks like. Hold on to your feet because NASA has released videos of wh Read more…

Google Announces Sixth-generation AI Chip, a TPU Called Trillium

May 17, 2024

On Tuesday May 14th, Google announced its sixth-generation TPU (tensor processing unit) called Trillium.  The chip, essentially a TPU v6, is the company's l Read more…

Intel’s Next-gen Falcon Shores Coming Out in Late 2025 

April 30, 2024

It's a long wait for customers hanging on for Intel's next-generation GPU, Falcon Shores, which will be released in late 2025.  "Then we have a rich, a very Read more…

GenAI Having Major Impact on Data Culture, Survey Says

February 21, 2024

While 2023 was the year of GenAI, the adoption rates for GenAI did not match expectations. Most organizations are continuing to invest in GenAI but are yet to Read more…

Q&A with Nvidia’s Chief of DGX Systems on the DGX-GB200 Rack-scale System

March 27, 2024

Pictures of Nvidia's new flagship mega-server, the DGX GB200, on the GTC show floor got favorable reactions on social media for the sheer amount of computing po Read more…

Intel Plans Falcon Shores 2 GPU Supercomputing Chip for 2026  

August 8, 2023

Intel is planning to onboard a new version of the Falcon Shores chip in 2026, which is code-named Falcon Shores 2. The new product was announced by CEO Pat Gel Read more…

How the Chip Industry is Helping a Battery Company

May 8, 2024

Chip companies, once seen as engineering pure plays, are now at the center of geopolitical intrigue. Chip manufacturing firms, especially TSMC and Intel, have b Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire