People to Watch 2016

Sumit Gupta
Vice President of HPC & OpenPOWER 
IBM

Sumit Gupta is Vice President, High-Performance Computing and OpenPOWER, at IBM. Previously, he was General Manager for GPU-Accelerated Data Center Computing at NVIDIA, Product Marketing Manager for Tensilica, and Entrepreneur-in Residence for Tallwood Venture Capital, among other positions.

 

HPCwire: Hi Sumit. Congratulations on being selected as an HPCwire 2016 Person to Watch. Who will be IBM’s first hyperscale customer? Will it be this year?

Sumit Gupta: Well I’d like to start with what’s already happened and where we’re seeing traction. You can see that both Google and Rackspace have publically said that they’re working on POWER and both of them have their own distributed systems with POWER. Google has their own infrastructure so they’ve shown a model for their server motherboard, and Rackspace, in fact, is making an OpenCompute server, which should serve entire community because of the open standard. I’d say those are the first few who have stepped forward and talked about OpenPOWER in the hyperscale space.

We have a lot going on in the hyperscale space in the US and Europe, as well as in China, so we definitely do believe that we’ll get many more announcements this coming year.

HPCwire: Who will be OpenPOWER’s first large OEM besides IBM? Will that take place this year?

Again, we have very large system manufacturers already building systems with OpenPOWER. Companies like Wistron and Tyan already have existing systems in the market, and we have system builders like Penguin Computing, E4 and Cirrascale also building systems.

So we already have many, many pieces of that puzzle and we expect several more announcements and systems manufacturers coming on board this year.

HPCwire: Finally, how will you make these and any other goals for 2016 happen?

We launched our first OpenPOWER systems for HPC at the end of last year. So 2016 will be the first full year when we have OpenPOWER systems in the HPC market. And really, if you look at IBM’s portfolio in HPC, it’s not just about systems. We have a terrific storage product called ESS based on the Spectrum Scale (evolution of GPFS) parallel file system, we have excellent software from Platform Computing and the Aspera cloud compression and file transfer technology, and we of course have the IBM Cloud. So in 2016 we have a full portfolio of products for the HPC market and we expect this to be the year that we really establish OpenPOWER there.

One of the biggest trends that IBM has noted is that the path forward for not only high performance computing but big data analytics as well as is a path of the accelerated datacenter, which is comprised of accelerated computing, accelerated storage and accelerated networking. The basis of this is that CPU performance alone cannot meet the performance requirements of the new HPC and big data workloads, particularly as we go into exascale. And this is precisely why OpenPOWER has partnered with NVIDIA, Mellanox and Xilinx to bring these accelerated computing, networking and storage technologies to the HPC and big data markets.

HPCwire: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you tell us about yourself – personal life, family, background, hobbies, etc.?

I’m married and I have two kids: twin girls, who just turned 11. I came to the US from India, a little less than 20 years ago now. And I started with a very technical career: I ended up getting my PhD in computer science, then did a post-doc. And then I switched gears moving into venture capital, then business management and product management right after that.

I’ve had a varied background in my work history where I’ve done hardware design, software programming, product management, business management, marketing… So I’ve got lots of these things that I’ve had the opportunity to do with my life.

HPCwire: Final question: What can you share about yourself that you think your colleagues would be surprised to learn?

I like hiking – in fact I’ve trekked in the Himalayas, and I’ve been up to a peak that was about 15,000 feet above sea level. I also backpacked through Europe when I was in college. Finally, I don’t cook often enough, but I like to cook.

 

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