Hello from ISC! The International Super Computing show is in full swing here in Frankfurt, Germany. This is the first year ISC is being held in Frankfurt, and my impression is very positive. Yesterday afternoon was the official opening of the show floor, which was followed by a welcoming reception in the evening. There’s a definite excitement on the show floor, so I thought it might be time to dust off The Dean‘s List and share what appears to be gathering the most excitement here. Please keep in mind this list is not exhaustive and is mostly based on my first impressions.
- FPGA-based computing. We often think of FPGAs as expensive and power-hungry, but when it comes to performing certain computational tasks, FPGAs seem to be finding a growing niche. Some vendors are supporting the CUDA programming language for their FPGA solutions. Others have proprietary programming environments. Of course, our (Micron’s) Pico Computing and Convey Computer groups are really familiar with this processing model.
- HMC. While there is limited adoption of the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) by processor vendors, HMC is gaining a strong following with the FPGA-based compute providers. I hung around two FPGA-compute provider booths and was pleased to hear them pushing memory bandwidth and performance, specifically naming the HMC as their ultimate solution.
- ARM. ARM is real and ARM is real for high-performance computing. 64-bit ARM is gaining some ground here. The gap between ARM performance and x86/64 performance is also closing. Chips are in the works to support DDR4 with truly big data-capable memory footprints.
- Xeon Phi. Intel’s answer to general purpose computing on graphics processing units (GP/GPU) is gaining steam. The ability of this platform to run unmodified or lightly modified code is apparently a compelling reason for this platform’s success. Intel was also showcasing an ability to parallelize code automatically. They also were promising future versions with improved interconnect speed and memory bandwidth.
- Hey, memory matters! We (Micron) are not alone here. Samsung has a large presence with a large booth near ours. Everyone seems to be well aware of the importance of DRAM to the high-performance computing (HPC) world. SanDisk is also here in force. Flash memory is finding a solid home in the HPC market.
That’s all for now!