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Cray to develop Arm based supercomputers

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The exascale era is firmly in the sights of Cray and Fujitsu following an agreement to use Arm processors in a new line of supercomputers.
 
The companies hope that the partnership will offer the HPC user community an increased choice of processor technology to address their ever-expanding needs.

Under the alliance agreement, Cray is developing the first-ever commercial supercomputer powered by the Fujitsu A64FX Arm-based processor with high-memory bandwidth (HBM) and supported on the Cray CS500 supercomputer architecture and programming environment.

Initial customers include Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, RIKEN Center for Computational Science, Stony Brook University, and University of Bristol. As part of this new partnership, Cray and Fujitsu will explore engineering collaboration, co-development, and joint go-to-market to meet customer demand in the supercomputing space. 

‘The most demanding computing work at LANL involves sparse, irregular, multi-physics, multi-link-scale, highly resolved, long-running 3D simulations,’ said Gary Grider, deputy division leader, HPC division at LANL. ‘There are few existing architectures that currently serve this workload well. We are excited to see a potential solution and are happy to be helping prove this Cray and Fujitsu technology is a viable alternative for this need.  Having this type of capability will be quite complementary to other resources in the NNSA computing complex.’

‘Our partnership with Fujitsu means customers now have a broader choice of processor technology to address their pressing computational needs,’ said Fred Kohout, senior vice president and CMO at Cray. ‘We are delivering the development-to-deployment experience customers have come to expect from Cray, including exploratory development to the Cray Programming Environment (CPE) for Arm processors to optimize performance and scalability with additional support for Scalable Vector Extensions and high bandwidth memory.’

The new Fujitsu processor is unique in that it is the first processor to deliver both HBM and Arm Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE). HBM2 provides transfer speeds that are significantly faster than DDR4 giving the A64FX a maximum theoretical memory bandwidth greater than 1 terabyte per second (TB/s), and support for Arm SVE provides improved performance for artificial intelligence and analytics. The Cray CS500 system can apply this compute power to a wide range of HPC and AI workloads while still delivering hallmark features of Arm-based systems with high parallelization, low power consumption and high reliability.

‘It’s a pleasure to partner with Cray, building technologies for the next era of computing,’ said Takeshi Horie, corporate executive officer, vice head of service Platform Business Group at Fujitsu. ‘Both companies have a strong legacy of supercomputing and vector processing. The A64FX Arm processor was designed to empower a wide range of data-intensive applications and is the world’s first CPU to adopt the SVE of the Armv8-A instruction set architecture, specifically extended for supercomputers.’

‘The new Fujitsu A64FX processor, one of the fastest Arm processors in the world and to be made commercially available from Cray and Fujitsu, also underpins ‘Fugaku,’ Japan’s next-generation flagship supercomputer at our RIKEN Center for Computational Science,’ said Satoshi Matsuoka, director of R-CCS. ‘We are extremely interested in seeing the A64FX on Cray CS500 machines with the Cray Programming Environment and how it will excel in performance and hope it will have a major impact on high-performance computing, especially as converged workloads take precedence in the field. We look forward to working with Cray and our partner Fujitsu to further enhance the software ecosystem for high-performance Arm.’

The Cray supercomputer powered by Fujitsu A64FX will be available through Cray to customers in mid-2020.