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Monte Cimone cluster combines 32 RISC-V cores.

A group of researchers from the Università di Bologna and Cineca has explored an experimental eight-node 32-core RISC-V supercomputer cluster. The demonstration showed that even a bunch of humble SiFive’s Freedom U740 system-on-chips could run supercomputer applications at relatively low power. Moreover, the cluster worked well and supported a baseline high-performance computing stack.

Need for RISC-V

One of the advantages of the open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture is the relative simplicity of building a highly custom RISC-V core aimed at a particular application that will offer a very competitive balance between performance, power consumption, and cost. It makes RISC-V suitable for emerging applications and various high-performance computing projects that cater to a particular workload. The group explored the cluster to prove that RISC-V-based platforms can function for high-performance computing (HPC) from a software perspective.

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