Published in PC Hardware

Nvidia is elbowing its way into supercomputers

by on25 May 2023

By the grace of Huang

Nvidia has been showing how it is elbowing its way into the CPU market starting with a new supercomputer based in the UK that will run on 384 of its Grace CPU Superchips.

A supercomputer, named Isambard 3, will be built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as part of a project being led by researchers at the University of Bristol. The company said the new supercomputer will deliver six times the performance and energy efficiency of its predecessor, Isambard 2.

Isambard project principal investigator Simon McIntosh-Smith said the Arm-based NVIDIA Grace CPU enables the breakthrough energy efficiency required to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and solve some of humanity’s most complex challenges.

Isambard 3’s significantly upgraded performance will enable new research in a wide range of areas, including in clean energy, modelling optimal configuration of wind farms on both land and water, and modelling fusion reactors to provide green energy in the future.

Under the bonnet is support for cutting-edge AI and machine learning research and the latest novel technologies, including the new Arm Neoverse-based NVIDIA Grace CPU Superchip, to provide a production system of at least 55,000 cores. The new system – one of the first in the world based on NVIDIA Grace – will have more than six times the computational performance and six times the energy efficiency of Isambard 2.

Initially hosted by the Met Office to develop more sophisticated weather forecasting and climate prediction modelling, Isambard has also been used to investigate next-generation healthcare and develop medical innovations. Researchers are running molecular-level simulations to understand the mechanisms behind Parkinson’s disease, and to help develop new drugs to treat osteoporosis. Research conducted on Isambard was also vital in the fight against COVID-19, contributing to the design of the vaccines by modelling the virus and how vaccines might work against it.

But the move is a high-profile win for Nvidia and its Grace Superchip, Grace is being targeted for data centres which is a battleground being fought over by AMD and Intel.


Last modified on 25 May 2023
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