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The Next Platform Article: CPU Wars And Exascale Clarity: HPC In 2019

By January 14, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

The year ahead for high performance computing promises some interesting twists and turns. We think two of the more defining developments for 2019, at least on the hardware side, are the beginning of a realigned processor market and the final sprint toward exascale supercomputers.
Let’s start off with the 800-lb gorilla in the room, Intel. Its chips are used in well over 90 percent of the HPC systems on the planet, which has been the case since the downfall of the AMD Opteron. While that may not change appreciably in 2019, AMD has its best chance in more than a decade to gain HPC market share at Intel’s expense.
Even though the EPI project kicked off last June, the technical direction already appears to be well established. The plan is to develop an Arm chip as the general-purpose processor and use open-source RISC-V architecture as the basis for the HPC accelerator. The first generation of these processors are slated to end up in pre-exascale systems in 2021 and could be taped out as early as the end of this year. The second-generation chips will go into exascale systems that are scheduled for installation in 2023 to 2024. In any case, we should get some notion of the chip designs for both the Arm and RISC-V implementation in 2019. The latter will represent the world’s first implementation of RISC-V for HPC.
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