Barcelona Supercomputer Center to build ARM Supercomputer
Barcelona Supercomputer Center announced on Nov 14 that they are planning to build the world's first ARM based supercomputer. Built around the Tegra 3 processor announced last week by NVidia, this represents a huge step forward in large scale supercomputing. The system design is being unveiled at the SC11 Conference, held in Washington from November 12-18 this year.
Current supercomputer performance is measured in petaflops (a petaflop is one thousand million million floating point operations per second). In January of this year, there were 5 known computers which had shown that level of performance using industry standard benchmarks. The ultimate goal of the BSC is the move toward exascale computing. That's 1000 times faster than the current fastest known supercomputers. And the goal is to do it using 15-30 times less power than existing systems.
The project is known as the EU Mont-Blanc Project, and will explore new HPC (High-Performance Computing) architectures, as well as developing exascale applications that will run on low power, embedded mobile technologies such as this. It is expected to achieve up to tenfold increase in energy efficiency as soon as 2014.
Using NVidia Tegra 3 CPUs and NVidia CUDA GPUs they expect to show a 2-5 times more energy efficient system. In current systems, the CPUs often use 40% of the total system power, which can be as high as 10-20 megawatts. That's as much power as is used by some small towns. The use of ARM based CPUs and low power GPUs will make similar systems much more viable, as well as cost effective.
Alongside this announcement, NVidia announced that it is developing a hardware and software development kit, featuring a Tegra 3 CPU with a discrete NVidia GPU. Expected in the first half of 2012, it will be supported by the CUDA parallel programming kit.
Related News (newer articles):
Mar 08, 2012: NVidia announces CUDA on ARM Development Kit