Department of Energy and Hewlett Packard Enterprises unveil Polaris supercomputer

A delay in the delivery of Intel Corporation’s exascale supercomputer to the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has created a new opportunity for competing chipmakers NVIDIA Corporation and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

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On Wednesday, Argonne unveiled Polaris, a benchtop supercomputer comprised of 280 Apollo Gen10 Plus systems from Hewlett Packard Enterprise and powered by 2,240 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core graphics processing units and 560 second and third generation EPYC processors. ‘AMD.

Polaris is expected to deliver around 44 petaflops of peak performance in double precision and nearly 1.4 exaflops of theoretical performance in artificial intelligence, performance up to four times faster than Argonne’s current supercomputers. (A single exaflop equals a “quintillion” calculations per second, or 1,000 petaflops. A single petaflop equals a “quadrillion” calculations per second.)

Installation of the Polaris supercomputer system at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in August 2021. Polaris provides researchers with a powerful new tool to prepare for science in the exascale era, when computers will make a billion bill (Argonne National Laboratory)

The machine will allow scientists and developers to test and optimize software code and applications that will be used by Intel’s $ 500 million Aurora supercomputer for a range of science projects, from advancing treatments against the country’s cancer and energy security with expanding the limits of particle collision physics. research.

“Polaris is well equipped to help move the [Argonne Leadership Computing Facility] into the exascale era of computer science by accelerating the application of AI capabilities to the increasing data and simulation demands of our users, ”ALCF Director Michael Papka said in a statement.

Polaris, which was delivered and installed in August, will go into service from early 2022 before opening up to the wider high-performance computing community in spring 2022.

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A spokesperson for Argonne National Laboratory confirmed to FOX Business that the Aurora system will be faster than Polaris, delivering more of an exaFLOP of peak performance in double precision. Aurora was originally scheduled for delivery in 2021, but has been delayed for several months.

The Aurora system’s performance exaFLOP – equal to a “quintillion” of floating point calculations per second – combined with an ability to handle both traditional high performance computing and artificial intelligence will provide researchers with an unprecedented experience. (Argonne National Laboratory)

The delay is caused by Intel’s Sapphire Rapids main processing units and Ponte Vecchio graphics processing units, key components of the Aurora system. An Intel spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business that Aurora remains on track for delivery next year, with the chips set to go into production in 2022.

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The fight for Intel and the opportunities for NVIDIA and AMD come as the three tech giants battle for dominance in the data center chip market.

In addition to Polaris, AMD will help power the National Nuclear Security Administration’s $ 600 million El Capitan supercomputer, which is expected to be delivered to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in early 2023. El Capitan is expected to be the fastest exascale computer. in the world, producing a record breaking speed of 2 exaflops, 10 times faster than the most powerful supercomputer today.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA is currently powering Oakridge National Laboratory’s Summit supercomputer, developed in collaboration with IBM, which can produce 200 petaflops, or 200 trillion calculations per second.

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According to Technavio, a global technology research and consulting company, the data center chip market has the potential to grow by $ 18.77 billion between 2021 and 2025.

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