[Beowulf] Intel unveils 1 teraflop chip with 50-plus cores

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Thu Dec 1 23:40:15 PST 2011


Someone anonymous posted in another forum this Knights corner chip is  
actually 64 cores, which makes sense,
that it should be < 300 watts, though we'll have to see whether  
that's the case, as the AMD HD Radeon 6990 as well as
the Nvidia GTX590 are rated by manufacturer nearly 400 watt,
and 512 bits vectors. So seems it's larrabee.

The weird mix of a cache coherent chip with big vectors. Sort of 'in  
between cpu and manycore' hybrid.

Which i'd expect to not have a very long life, as it'll be only  
interesting to matrix calculations, because it's
tougher to program than a GPU with those huge vectors for about any  
other sort of calculation, and it's gonna deliver
less Tflops of course for matrix calculations than the next  
generation gpu's can.

So it might have some sales opportunity until the next generation of  
gpu's gets released.

On Nov 16, 2011, at 10:52 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:

> http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/ 
> 2016775145_wow_intel_unveils_1_teraflop_c.html
> Wow: Intel unveils 1 teraflop chip with 50-plus cores
> Posted by Brier Dudley
> I thought the prospect of quad-core tablet computers was exciting.
> Then I saw Intel's latest -- a 1 teraflop chip, with more than 50  
> cores, that
> Intel unveiled today, running it on a test machine at the SC11  
> supercomputing
> conference in Seattle.
> That means my kids may take a teraflop laptop to college -- if  
> their grades
> don't suffer too much having access to 50-core video game consoles.
> It wasn't that long ago that Intel was boasting about the first  
> supercomputer
> with sustained 1 teraflop performance. That was in 1997, on a  
> system with
> 9,298 Pentium II chips that filled 72 computing cabinets.
> Now Intel has squeezed that much performance onto a matchbook-sized  
> chip,
> dubbed "Knights Ferry," based on its new "Many Integrated Core"  
> architecture,
> or MIC.
> It was designed largely in the Portland area and has just started
> manufacturing.
> "In 15 years that's what we've been able to do. That is stupendous.  
> You're
> witnessing the 1 teraflop barrier busting," Rajeeb Hazra, general  
> manager of
> Intel's technical computing group, said at an unveiling ceremony.  
> (He holds
> up the chip here)
> A single teraflop is capable of a trillion floating point  
> operations per
> second.
> On hand for the event -- in the cellar of the Ruth's Chris Steak  
> House in
> Seattle -- were the directors of the National Center for Computational
> Sciences at Oak Ridge Laboratory and the Application Acceleration  
> Center of
> Excellence.
> Also speaking was the chief science officer of the GENCI  
> supercomputing
> organization in France, which has used its Intel-based system for  
> molecular
> simulations of Alzheimer's, looking at issues such as plaque  
> formation that's
> a hallmark of the disease.
> "The hardware is hardly exciting. ... The exciting part is doing the
> science," said Jeff Nichols, acting director of the computational  
> center at
> Oak Ridge.
> The hardware was pretty cool, though.
> George Chrysos, the chief architect of Knights Ferry, came up from the
> Portland area with a test system running the new chip, which was  
> connected to
> a speed meter on a laptop to show that it was running around 1  
> teraflop.
> Intel had the test system set up behind closed doors -- on a coffee  
> table in
> a hotel suite at the Grand Hyatt, and wouldn't allow reporters to take
> pictures of the setup.
> Nor would the company specify how many cores the chip has -- just  
> more than
> 50 -- or its power requirement.
> If you're building a new system and want to future-proof it, the  
> Knights
> Ferry chip uses a double PCI Express slot. Chrysos said the systems  
> are also
> likely to run alongside a few Xeon processors.
> This means that Intel could be producing teraflop chips for personal
> computers within a few years, although there's lots of work to be  
> done on the
> software side before you'd want one.
> Another question is whether you'd want a processor that powerful on  
> a laptop,
> for instance, where you may prefer to have a system optimized for  
> longer
> battery life, Hazra said.
> More important, Knights Ferry chips may help engineers build the next
> generation of supercomputing systems, which Intel and its partners  
> hope to
> delivery by 2018.
> Power efficiency was a highlight of another big announcement this  
> week at
> SC11. On Monday night, IBM announced its "next generation  
> supercomputing
> project," the Blue Gene/Q system that's heading to Lawrence Livermore
> National Laboratory next year.
> Dubbed Sequoia, the system should run at 20 petaflops peak  
> performance. IBM
> expects it to be the world's most power-efficient computer,  
> processing 2
> gigaflops per watt.
> The first 96 racks of the system could be delivered in December. The
> Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration  
> uses the
> systems to work on nuclear weapons, energy reseach and climate  
> change, among
> other things.
> Sequoia complements another Blue Gene/Q system, a 10-petaflop setup  
> called
> "Mira," which was previously announced by Argonne National Laboratory.
> A few images from the conference, which runs through Friday at the  
> Washington
> State Convention & Trade Center, starting with perusal of Intel  
> boards:
> Take home a Cray today!
> IBM was sporting Blue Genes, and it wasn't even casual Friday:
> A 94 teraflop rack:
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