U.S. in talks to buy supercomputer build on Nvidia & AMD chips

The United States Department of Energy (DoE) is close to finalizing a contract to purchase a supercomputer based on hardware developed by Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), as a major laboratory waits for a larger supercomputer developed by Intel which has been delayed for months.

For starters, the supercomputer made by Nvidia and AMD called Polaris is anticipated to be launched this year and will not be a substitute for the Intel-based Aurora machine set for the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, which was expected to be the fastest computer in the U.S. when announced in 2019.

As per sources, Polaris will be a test machine for Argonne to prepare its Intel machine software. Apparently, Intel, Nvidia, and AMD are fighting for chips market share used in data centers. The supercomputers range in the U.S. are used to conduct climate and other researches, scientific work for healthcare, and performing virtual testing of the country’s nuclear weapons.

Intel and Argonne stated that Aurora would be delivered in 2021. However, Intel has still not delivered Sapphire Rapids and Ponte Vecchio chips.

In June, Intel mentioned that the Sapphire Rapids chips would not be in production until 2022, and recently its spokesperson Will Moss said that Intel is focused on delivering the computer by 2022.

The contract of $500 million called for Intel & partners to handover a computer with the ability to perform one quintillion calculations per second or with exaflop performance.

Sources estimate that the first exascale computer in the United States is likely to be delivered this year and will most likely be a different machine developed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) at a different lab Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, with AMD chips.

The Argonne Polaris machine will not be as impactful as the Intel machine. Based on AMD’s Rome and Milan chips and Nvidia’s A100 chips, the Polaris computer will make some exaflop calculations but generally work at slower speeds.

Source Credit - https://infotechlead.com/networking/us-may-buy-a-slow-supercomputer-powered-by-nvidia-and-amd-chips-68234