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Cray to Plug Kepler GPUs into Future Cascade Supers

By Timothy Prickett MorganGet more from this author

Cray’s next-generation “Cascade” supercomputer is based on a future Intel “Ivy Bridge” Xeon processors, and the company has just taken $140m from Chipzilla in exchange for the intellectual property and people associated with its “Gemini” and “Aries” supercomputer interconnects. So it was no surprise that Cray talked about using Intel’s Xeon Phi x86 coprocessors in the future Cascade machines, which lash tens of thousands of those future Xeons together using the Aries interconnect.

Now Nvidia is finally getting a little love for its “Kepler” GPU coprocessors inside the future Cascade machines. So if you have written code that runs in hybrid mode on AMD’s Opteron processors and Nvidia’s Tesla GPU coprocessors, as many supercomputing shops have begun doing, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You won’t be forced to port your code to Xeon Phi coprocessors, formerly known as “Knights Corner.”

The current Cray XK6 hybrid CPU-GPU supercomputers are what you get when you rip out half of the eight Opteron 6200 processors on a system blade, replace them with Tesla X2090 GPU coprocessors, and then link them to the remaining four Opterons.

Given that two of the largest supercomputers in the world – the 20 petaflops “Titan” super going into Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the similarly-sized “Blue Waters” super going into the University of Illinois – are using Nvidia’s future “Kepler” GPUs in their coprocessors (and specifically, the Tesla K20 coprocessors aimed at jobs that need lots of double-precision floating point math), it was a pretty good bet that Cray was going to support Nvidia GPU coprocessors in Cascades. The US government labs paying for Cascade systems would not have it any other way.

This article originally appeared in The Register

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