AMD awarded $12.6 million by U.S. Department of Energy
AMD has announced that it was selected for an award of $12.6 million for two research projects associated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Extreme-Scale Computing Research and Development Program, known as “FastForward.” The DOE award provides up to $9.6 million to AMD for processor-related research and up to $3 million for memory-related research. AMD’s award-winning AMD Opteron processor has powered many of the world’s largest supercomputers over the past decade and the company invented the world’s first and only accelerated processing unit (APU).
FastForward is a jointly funded collaboration between DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to initiate partnerships with multiple companies to accelerate the research and development (R&D) of critical technologies needed for extreme scale computing, on the path toward exascale computing. Exascale computing is essentially a grand challenge to provide the next level of computational power required to help ensure the prosperity and security of the United States. The DOE’s strategic plan seeks to address the nation’s most pressing scientific challenges by advancing simulation-based scientific discovery made possible by the world’s highest performing exascale supercomputers.
Exascale supercomputers will be capable of performing one quintillion (or a billion billion) calculations per second, roughly one thousand times faster than today’s fastest available supercomputers. Exascale supercomputers are designed to break through the current limitations of today’s supercomputers by dramatically reducing the length of run time required to perform calculations and improving the capability to perform detailed analyses of complex systems. Medical science, astrophysics, climate modeling and national security all have applications with extreme computing requirements.
“To prepare for the next phase of extreme scale computing, NNSA and DOE Office of Science are taking a proactive step in jointly making strategic investments in key areas such as processor, file storage and memory technologies with AMD and others,” said Thuc Hoang of DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration. “A key to successfully developing next-generation HPC capabilities is bringing together the know-how and best minds of industry leaders and national labs to work on this grand challenge.”
“We’re honored to be selected for this research project to help drive the next frontier for high-performance computing,” said Alan Lee, AMD’s corporate vice president for Advanced Research and Development. “AMD has long been the technology partner of choice for many of the world’s leading high-performance computing providers. This award from the DOE will fund critical research and development required to enable high-performance, power-efficient exascale systems. Additionally, AMD will undertake work to drive advances in memory bandwidth and communication speed, which are essential for heterogeneous-architecture, exascale-class supercomputers with thousands of processors.”
According to Dr. William J. Harrod, Division Director of Research, in the DOE Office of Science, ASCR, “extreme scale technology will create a whole new class of high performance computing systems that can achieve 1,000 times the performance of today’s petascale computers while limiting growth in space and power requirements.” He added, “The primary goal of the Department’s Exascale effort is to ensure the availability of leading-edge computing assets for national security and scientific discovery. The development of high performance, energy-efficient processor and memory technologies are critical to achieving the Department’s goals, and AMD is initiating innovative designs for these components.”
AMD Opteron processors are used today in many of the world’s leading supercomputers, including IBM’s Roadrunner computer at the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, which in 2008 was the first supercomputer to reach sustained petaflop performance. AMD Opteron processors also were used in the world’s second petascale supercomputer, Cray’s Jaguar supercomputer deployed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Moreover, the DOE announced last fall that 19,200 AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors will be used to help power their new Titan system also at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is expected to provide peak performance in excess of 20 petaflops when it becomes fully operational by early 2013. AMD Opteron processors also were selected for the Blue Waters supercomputing project at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
According to the report, “The Future of Computing Performance, Game over or Next Level?” by the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, “Virtually every sector of society — manufacturing, financial services, education, government, the military, entertainment, and so on — has become dependent on continued growth in computing performance to drive industrial productivity, increase efficiency and enable innovation.” To address this need, the FastForward Program funds new or existing innovative technologies targeted for productization in a five-to-10 year timeframe. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory represented seven DOE laboratories and the DOE as the Source Selection Official for this award.