Cirrascale's RM1905D, a two-in-one 1U server ARM64 development platform with two Tesla K20 GPUs and one Applied Micro X-Gene 64-bit ARM SoC.

NVIDIA Pitches GPU-Assisted 64-Bit ARM SoCs for HPC Workloads

NVIDIA announced that multiple server vendors are leveraging its GPU accelerators to launch the world’s first 64-bit ARM development systems for high performance computing. The company made the announcement at the International Supercomputing conference (ISC14) in Leipzig, Germany, earlier this week.

“NVIDIA has built the industry’s most comprehensive accelerated computing platform — including servers, software, development tools, processors and related technologies — optimized for the HPC industry,” said Ian Buck, vice president of accelerated computing at NVIDIA. “GPUs are the enabling technology that allow server vendors to build HPC-class systems around flexible ARM64 processors. The result is new highly innovative computing solutions for HPC (High Performance Computing).”

Door Into HPC for ARM server processors

ARM chips are used predominantly in smartphones and embedded devices, but there has also been some adoption of the low-power chip architecture — licensed to manufacturers by UK’s ARM Holdings — in the server market. Now, with NVIDIA’s CUDA parallel programming platform and its GPUs doing the heavy lifting,  ARM64 is able to take on HPC-class workloads, according to the chip maker.

Three vendors will incorporate the solution, which consists of Applied Micro’s X-Gene ARM64 SoC and NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPU accelerators. NVIDIA’s CUDA-accelerated scientific and engineering HPC applications can be recompiled for ARM64 systems to take advantage of the solution immediately.

  • Cirrascale: RM1905D, a two-in-one 1U server ARM64 development platform with two Tesla K20 GPUs and one Applied Micro X-Gene 64-bit ARM SoC
  • E4 Computer Engineering: a low-power 3U, dual-motherboard server appliance with two Tesla K20 GPU accelerators
  • Eurotech: an ultra-high density, energy efficient and modular Aurora HPC server configuration, based on proprietary Brick Technology and featuring direct hot liquid cooling

Applied Micro debuted the X-Gene ARMv8 64-bit Server SoC at this year’s Open Compute Summit and demonstrated that it can run production software with OpenStack (Icehouse) release using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in a KVM virtualized environment on a server last month. At this week’s ISC14 Applied Micro announced that the ARM-based X-Gene SoC is finally ready, and that development kits are available immediately, with silicon production set to start soon.

“The availability of accelerated 64-bit ARM servers is one of the most significant developments to hit the HPC market this year,” said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC. “IDC believes there is substantial interest within the HPC community in evaluating GPU-accelerated 64-bit ARM systems for next-generation computing projects.”

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About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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  1. Cary Roberts

    This is insane. The two DDR3 sticks are 90° instead of straight on. Come on and do it right or just not do it.