Feeds

Oak Ridge goes gaga for Nvidia GPUs

Fermi chases Cell for HPC dough

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Hybrid futures

It would not be at all surprising to see a hybrid architecture for the future Oak Ridge machine that uses PCI-Express 2.0 links to hook Fermi GPUs into Opteron server nodes, just like IBM is using PCI-Express 1.0 links to hook Cell boards into the Opteron nodes with Roadrunner.

Jeff Nichols, associate lab director for computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge, said in a statement that the Fermi GPUs, which have eight times the double precision floating point performance as the Teslas, at around 500 gigaflops, would enable "substantial scientific breakthroughs that would be impossible without the new technology."

Working with the future Tesla GPU coprocessors and their successors, Oak Ridge is hoping to push up into the exaflops barrier within ten years. Getting to 10 petaflops next year with a parallel super that uses the Fermi GPUs is just a down payment.

The important thing about the Fermi GPUs is that the CUDA programming environment from nVidia supports not just C, but C++ as well. When Fortran compilers can see and dispatch work to the GPUs, the combination of decent double-precision performance and C++ and Fortran support will truly push GPU co-processors into the mainstream. This is exactly what Nvidia, AMD (with its FireStream GPUs), and Intel (with its Larrabee GPUs) are all hoping for.

Cell multiplication

The question now is, what will Big Blue do to counter these moves onto its hybrid supercomputing turf?

Several years back, when the Cell chips were first being commercialized and offered terrible double-precision floating-point performance (like 42 gigaflops versus 460 gigaflops for a two-socket Cell blade), Big Blue's roadmap called for a Cell board with two sockets that could deliver 460 gigaflops of single-precision and 217 gigaflops of double-precision math. We know this blade server as the BladeCenter QS22.

The roadmap also called for a BladeCenter QS2Z, which would have Cell chips that in turn had two Power cores and a whopping 32 vector processors each, using a next-generation memory and interconnection technology; the QS2Z blade would sport 2 teraflops per blade at single precision and 1 teraflops per blade at double precision.

That's about twice the oomph in a Cell chip compared to the forthcoming Fermi GPUs. Oak Ridge knew that, of course, but maybe this future Cell chip never made it out of the concept stage, as it was in early 2007.

IBM is mum on its Cell roadmap plans at this point, but this future Cell chip was slated for delivery in the first half of 2010, more or less concurrent with the Fermi GPU co-processors. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes
4TB of home storage is great, until you wake up to a dead device
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Intel offers ingenious piece of 10TB 3D NAND chippery
The race for next generation flash capacity now on
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.