APU 2013 – Day 2 Recap

John MelonakosComputing Trends, Events, OpenCL 1 Comment

Today was the first full day of AMD’s APU 2013 conference. It was a whirlwind of heterogeneous computing. From the morning keynotes, three particular salient points stuck out to us: Mike Muller, CTO at ARM, talked about heterogeneous computing. He said it nicely with, “Heterogeneous computing is the future. It has also been our past, but we didn’t notice because a few shiny companies overshadowed everything else.” That is a great way to describe it. The future of heterogeneous computing involves the rise in importance of non-x86 processors. Throwing a few more MHz onto a CPU no longer is capable of satiating computational demands. Nandini Ramani, VP at Oracle, talked about the importance of Java for heterogeneous computing. She pointed …

Application Time vs Solver Time

John MelonakosArrayFire, Computing Trends Leave a Comment

Last week, HPCwire ran an interesting article entitled, “Where has HPC’s math gone?” The article analyzes the increasing importance of math solvers to successful HPC outcomes. As the number of cores grows, the percentage of time HPC codes spend in solvers increases significantly. The following chart illustrates this trend nicely:   ArrayFire is ideally suited for HPC applications that need to accelerate the toughest math problems. ArrayFire contains hundreds of math functions across numerous domains. In general, if the HPC community really wants to solve this problem, it will begin to invest more in libraries than in compilers that have no chance at optimizing these tough math problems automatically. Rather, it is only through expertly-tuned codes, such as those developed …

ISC 2013 Keynote by Stephen Pawlowski of Intel

John MelonakosComputing Trends, Events Leave a Comment

Stephen Pawlowski of Intel gave an interesting keynote today at ISC 2013. He continued the theme of yesterday’s keynote to address challenges our market faces in getting to exascale computing. Here is a summary of the points he made during his talk: Getting to exascale by 2020 requires performance improvement of 2x every year Innovations anticipated include stacked chips and optical layers DRAM is not scaling with Moore’s Law More power goes into transferring data than in computing Need to operate transistors near threshold New materials for DRAM needed. Resistive memory could replace DRAM. Need to explore both the big die and the small die paths as we approach 2020 Big die path leads to 10 billion transistors on a …

ISC 2013 Keynote by Bill Dally of NVIDIA

John MelonakosComputing Trends, Events Leave a Comment

Bill Dally of NVIDIA gave a wonderful keynote today at ISC 2013. He focused on addressing the challenges facing our market in getting to exascale computing. He talked about how Moore’s law is alive and well because transistors continue to double at an astonishing rate. However, the additional transistors are not translating into the same big performance gains as they did in the 1990’s. Whereas performance used to grow 50% per year, performance today is growing at a much slower pace. The biggest bottleneck to more performance is energy efficiency. Bill showed slides of chips and talked about the picojoules required to compute versus those required to move data and operands around the chip. The take home message was that …

Are You Getting Left Behind?

John MelonakosComputing Trends Leave a Comment

HPCwire posted a nice article today with trends from IDC on computer processing. These trends fall inline and corroborate things we’ve been saying here on this blog. Accelerators (including GPUs and co-processors) are taking off. Are you getting left behind? If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably at the bleeding edge, but nonetheless here are some interesting excerpts from HPCwire’s market report (go read the whole thing): “While they expected to see a jump in coprocessor and accelerator uptake, they were wholly unprepared for the overwhelming positive response to GPUs and new entrants into the market, most notably Intel’s shiny new Phi.” “Conway said that while accelerator and coprocessor adoption growth was anticipated, they had no idea that it would …

History of the Modern GPU Series

John MelonakosComputing Trends Leave a Comment

Graham Singer over at Techspot posted a series of articles a few weeks ago covering the history of the modern GPU. It is well-written and in-depth. For GPU affectionados, this is a nice read. There are 4 parts to the series: Part 1: (1976 – 1995) The Early Days of 3D Consumer Graphics Part 2: (1995 – 1999) 3Dfx Voodoo: The Game-changer Part 3: (2000 – 2006) The Nvidia vs. ATI Era Begins Part 4: (2006 – 2013) The Modern GPU: Stream processing units a.k.a. GPGPU Enjoy!

Parallel Software Development Trends for Dummies

John MelonakosComputing Trends Leave a Comment

Last month, I posted two articles describing computing trends and why heterogeneous computing will be a significant force in computing for the next decade. Today, I continue that series with an article describing the biggest challenge to continued increases in computing performance – parallel software development. Biggest Challenge As I described previously, in order to use an accelerator, software changes must be made. Regular x86-based compilers cannot compile code to run on accelerators without these needed changes. The amount of software change required varies depending upon the availability of and reliance upon software tools that increase performance and productivity. There are four possible approaches to take advantage of accelerators in heterogeneous computing environments:  do-it-yourself, use compilers, use libraries, or use …

Heterogeneous Computing Trends for Dummies

John MelonakosComputing Trends Leave a Comment

Ten days ago, I posted an article on CPU Processing Trends for Dummies. Today, I continue that series with an article describing the latest major trend in computing, namely Heterogeneous Computing. The Point The point of these articles is to paint the high-level picture for trends in computer processing. I hope this bigger picture will help summarize things for those that do not breathe computer processors and technical software on a daily basis. Over the last 20 years, big gains in computer processing have been defined by increases in CPU clock speeds, then by increases in the number of CPU cores. The next 10+ years will be defined by heterogeneous computing. Heterogeneous Computing So let’s start with a definition:  Heterogeneous …

CPU Processing Trends for Dummies

John MelonakosComputing Trends Leave a Comment

Over the years at AccelerEyes, it has been surprising to me how many people miss a big picture understanding of the trends affecting the computing industry. To help, I’m going to post a few articles with high-level explanations. I’m going to do so in a hand-wavy manner. I look forward in advance to the lively comments on my mistakes. But, in general, I think these posts will be a fairly accurate view of the important trends. Today, I’ll start by talking about CPU processing trends. Let’s start with something we all know:  CPUs are central processing units and are the main processor in the computer. You probably had to label the CPU on a diagram at some point in grade school, …