Next Platform TV for July 16, 2020

On today’s program we talk AI chip innovations with Graphcore co-founder and CEO, Nigel Toon, tap into the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to talk Arm server performance, check in with Sandia for brain-inspired computing advances; talk HDD technologies that keep disk relevant, and also discuss RISC-V with the foundation’s CEO.

Kicking off the program we talk with Nigel Toon, co-founder and CEO of AI chip startup, Graphcore, which just announced its second-generation chip, based on 7nm and with loads more memory and some unique communications cooked into both chips and systems. We also talk about price/performance and what room is left in the market.

We also speak with Filippo Mantovani, a postdoc researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain, about his team’s Arm server benchmarks on HPC workloads, pitting Marvell’s ThunderX2 processors against Intel’s Xeon SPs.

On today’s program we also speak with brain-inspired computing researcher, neuroscientist turned computer scientist, Dr. Brad Aimone of Sandia National Lab. We discuss how to differentiate current neuromorphic hardware and what the state of the art is in mapping problems onto current neuromorphic devices.

Also joining us on today’s program is Calista Redmond, who is CEO of RISC-V International, the foundation behind the open source RISC-V architecture and the former president of OpenPower Foundation. RISC-V was spawned out of the Parallel Computing Lab at Berkeley a decade ago, and chips based on RISC-V are poised to give other instruction sets a run for the money. But we want to know how RISC-V is going to do in the datacenter, and specifically as server CPUs and accelerators.

We look at an industry that has a tough road ahead, despite some saving technology graces (which we discuss)—the disk market. Carl Che, vice president of HDD technology at Western Digital, which has just started shipping new 16 TB and 18 TB disk drives which is showing off a 20 TB drive, is asked what is driving the capacity needs and therefore keeping the disk market alive, and if the disk drive has inherent Moore’s Law limits like other devices used in the datacenter, such as CPUs and switch ASICs.

Cheat Sheet

2:07 – Graphcore CEO/Co-Founder, Nigel Toon

15:19 – ThunderX for HPC (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)

25:53 – Brain Inspired Computing with Dr. Brad Aimone (Sandia)

36:35 – Room for HDD Innovation? EAMR and More (Carl Che, WD)

49:10 – RISC-V Current, Future Outlook (CEO RISC-V, Calista Redmond)

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