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Nvidia Describes 10 TeraFlops Processor

Discussion in 'ATI' started by parallax-scroll, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Nvidia describes 10 teraflops processor
    Rick Merritt
    11/17/2010 10:47 AM EST
    SAN JOSE, Calif. – Nvidia's chief scientist gave attendees at
    Supercomputing 2010 a sneak peak of a future graphics chip that will
    power an exascale computer. Nvidia is competing with three other teams
    to build such a system by 2018 in a program funded by the U.S.
    Department of Defense.

    Nvidia's so-called Echelon system is just a paper design backed up by
    simulations, so it could change radically before it gets built.
    Elements of its chip designs ultimately are expected to show up across
    the company's portfolio of handheld to supercomputer graphics

    "If you can do a really good job computing at one scale you can do it
    at another," said Bill Dally, Nvidia's chief scientist who is heading
    up the Echelon project. "Our focus at Nvidia is on performance per
    watt [across all products], and we are starting to reuse designs
    across the spectrum from Tegra to Tesla chips," he said.

    In his talk, Dally described a graphics core that can process a
    floating point operation using just 10 picojoules of power, down from
    200 picojoules on Nvidia's current Fermi chips. Eight of the cores
    would be packaged on a single streaming multiprocessor (SM) and 128 of
    the SMs would be packed into one chip.

    The result would be a thousand-core graphics chip with each core
    capable of handling four double precision floating-point operations
    per clock cycle—the equivalent of 10 teraflops on a chip. A chip with
    just eight of the cores would someday power a handset, Dally said.

    The Echelon chip packs just twice as many cores as today's high-end
    Nvidia GPUs. However, today's cores handle just one double precision
    floating-point operation per cycle, compared to four for the Echelon

    Many of the advances in the chip come from its use of memory. The
    Echelon chip will use 256 Mbytes of SRAM memory that can be
    dynamically configured to meet the needs of an application.

    For example, the SRAM could be broken up into as many as six levels of
    cache, each of a variable size. At the lowest level each core would
    have its own private cache.

    The goal is to get data as close to processing elements as possible to
    reduce the need to move data around the chip, wasting energy. Thus SMs
    would have a hierarchy of processor registers that could be matched to
    locations in cache levels. In addition, the chip would have broadcast
    mechanisms so that the results of one task could be shared with any
    nodes that needed that data.

    Programming a 1,000-core processor

    To ease programming, the design is cache coherent across both graphics
    and traditional processor cores. Indeed, finding ways to program many-
    core processors is one of the chief challenges for today's computer

    "We are about to see a sea change in programming models," said Dally.
    "In high performance computing we went from vectorized Fortran to MPI
    and now we need a new programming model for the next decade or so," he

    "We think it should be an evolution of [Nvidia's] CUDA," said Dally.
    "But there are CUDA like approaches such as OpenCL, OpenMP and
    [Microsoft's] DirectCompute or a whole new language," he said.

    All the languages use similar ingredients. For example, they try to
    build into their semantics support for advanced memory sharing

    Nvidia's Echelon system will compete with teams from Intel, MIT and
    Sandia National Labs, each taking different approaches to build power
    efficient exascale systems.

    The Ubiquitous High Performance Computing program is sponsored by the
    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA tasked the teams to
    build by 2014 a prototype petaflop-class system into 57 kilowatt rack
    prototype computer. Such systems could be used as building blocks to
    create an exascale system to be built by 2018.

    http://www.eetimes.com/ContentEETimes/Echelon chip.jpg

    Nvidia's Echelon chip packs 1,000 cores in 128 blocks

    parallax-scroll, Nov 20, 2010
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