Move over GPUs, with 1,536 cores the Thunderbird RISC-V CPU is ready to eat your lunch

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One thing to look ahead to: InspireSemi is betting massive on its “supercomputer-on-a-chip” product referred to as Thunderbird. The corporate believes that leveraging open-source RISC-V structure and agnostic software program compatibility makes its PCI add-in card extra inexpensive, accessible, and environment friendly than its rivals.

The Austin-based semiconductor firm InspireSemi introduced that it has tapped out its first Thunderbird “supercomputer-on-a-chip” comprising 1,536 64-bit superscalar RISC-V CPU cores. 4 chips may be put in on a single accelerator card, in a type issue just like a GPU. This configuration brings the whole variety of cores per card to six,144, with the potential to scale to multi-processors in a single cluster related utilizing high-speed serial interconnect.

That feels like a number of horsepower, however who’s it geared towards? InspireSemi says their product addresses a number of crucial areas of HPC workloads.

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Thunderbird makes use of normal CPU programming fashions and compiles with out creating workloads on customized platforms like Nvidia’s CUDA or AMD’s ROCm. This implies present HPC workloads operating on CPUs ought to have little to no customized code to run in Thunderbird. Additionally, the product is adaptable to present server infrastructure as it is a PCI add-on card, permitting InspireSemi to succeed in extra clients who shouldn’t have the funds to construct out new infrastructure and services.

In accordance with InspireSemi, the processor’s open-source design and agnostic software program permits them to focus on many industries: “Thunderbird accelerates many crucial purposes in vital industries that different approaches don’t, together with life sciences, genomics, medical units, local weather change analysis, and purposes that require deep simulation and modeling” stated the corporate’s founder and CTO Andy Grey.

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Thunderbird means to inherit the ability effectivity of the RISC-based structure. InspireSemi claims a 30-60% energy effectivity in comparison with equally succesful options. One metric is as much as 24 FP64 TFLOPS at 50 GFLOPS/W (480W). The comparability is made in opposition to Nvidia’s Ampere A100 at 19.5 FP64 TFLOPS, it sounds promising contemplating that Thunderbird’s pricing would begin at $6,500.

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The pace at which corporations are using open-source options is outstanding. The Unified Acceleration Basis’s (UXL) mission is to develop common requirements for vendor-agnostic {hardware} and software program, with Intel being one of many foremost contributors by way of its oneAPI framework.

If open-source initiatives for constructing a extra open platform proceed to realize momentum, then corporations like InspireSemi could have a brilliant future.

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