IBM and Nvidia are teaming up to create next-generation supercomputers that take advantage of Nvidia’s graphics chips and IBM’s Power microprocessors.
The two companies are taking graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration — or the use of graphics chips to do non-graphics parallel processing tasks — to create a new generation of supercomputers with IBM enterprise software applications running on Power processors. In the past, supercomputers were based solely upon CPUs, but as the chart at the bottom suggests, GPU-based computing has grown rapidly in data centers.
The collaboration will allow IBM’s customers to more rapidly process, secure, and analyze massive amounts of data. The machines will use a new Nvidia Tesla K40 GPU and IBM Power8 central processing units (CPUs). Nvidia says the new GPU is the highest-performance accelerator chip ever built, with double the memory and 40 percent higher performance of its predecessor. It can handle 4.29 teraflops for single-precision peak floating point performance and 1.43 teraflops for double-precision peak floating point performance. The chip has 2,880 CUDA processing cores.
“Companies are looking for new and more efficient ways to drive business value from big data and analytics,” said Tom Rosamilia, a senior vice president at IBM. “The combination of IBM and Nvidia processor technologies can provide clients with an advanced and efficient foundation to achieve this goal.”
The alliance will focus on scientific and technical communities for computing tasks like space exploration, decoding the human genome, and speeding new products to market. The IBM-Nvidia alliance will make an interesting rival to Intel and Advanced Micro Devices in the data center.
“This partnership will bring supercomputer performance to the corporate data center, expanding the use of GPU accelerators well beyond the traditional supercomputing and technical computing markets,” said Ian Buck, vice president of accelerated computing at Nvidia. “It will also provide existing supercomputing and high performance computing customers with new choices and technologies to build powerful, energy-efficient systems that drive innovation and scientific discovery.”