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IBM Unveils Breakthrough 127-Qubit Quantum Processor

IBM today announced its new 127-quantum bit (qubit) 'Eagle' processor at the IBM Quantum Summit 2021, its annual event to showcase milestones in quantum hardware, software, and the growth of the quantum ecosystem. The 'Eagle' processor is a breakthrough in tapping into the massive computing potential of devices based on quantum physics. It heralds the point in hardware development where quantum circuits cannot be reliably simulated exactly on a classical computer. IBM also previewed plans for IBM Quantum System Two, the next generation of quantum systems.

Quantum computing taps into the fundamental quantum nature of matter at subatomic levels to offer the possibility of vastly increased computing power. The fundamental computational unit of quantum computing is the quantum circuit, an arrangement of qubits into quantum gates and measurements. The more qubits a quantum processor possesses, the more complex and valuable the quantum circuits that it can run.

TOP500 Update Shows No Exascale Yet, Japanese Fugaku Supercomputer Still at the Top

The 58th annual edition of the TOP500 saw little change in the Top10. The Microsoft Azure system called Voyager-EUS2 was the only machine to shake up the top spots, claiming No. 10. Based on an AMD EPYC processor with 48 cores and 2.45GHz working together with an NVIDIA A100 GPU and 80 GB of memory, Voyager-EUS2 also utilizes a Mellanox HDR Infiniband for data transfer.

While there were no other changes to the positions of the systems in the Top10, Perlmutter at NERSC improved its performance to 70.9 Pflop/s. Housed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Perlmutter's increased performance couldn't move it from its previously held No. 5 spot.

IBM Cloud Selects 3rd Gen AMD EPYC Processors for New Bare Metal Offering for Compute-Intensive Workloads

AMD announced today that IBM Cloud has chosen 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors to expand its bare metal service offerings designed to power customers' demanding workloads and solutions. The new servers, featuring 128 cores, up to 4 TB of memory and 10 NVMe drives per server, give users full access to high-end, dual-socket performance with AMD EPYC 7763 processors; a first for IBM Cloud in a dual-socket platform.

"Our customers have a high demand for computing processing power and the new 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors provide the high levels of performance and scalability we were looking for," said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, vice president, IBM Cloud. "Our collaboration with AMD has helped us deliver our highest core counts and bandwidth ever available for IBM Cloud customers, to offer top market performance for today and tomorrow's demanding workloads."

"IBM Cloud customers regularly running compute-intensive workloads can see an immediate benefit to speed and scalability by upgrading to 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors, while helping to deliver a secure experience for end-users," said Lynn Comp, corporate vice president, Cloud Business Group, AMD. "Our continued collaboration with IBM Cloud is further validation of the strong standing AMD holds in the market as we deliver topline solutions that promote a seamless experience for cloud partners and their customers."

NVIDIA Quantum-2 Takes Supercomputing to New Heights, Into the Cloud

NVIDIA today announced NVIDIA Quantum-2, the next generation of its InfiniBand networking platform, which offers the extreme performance, broad accessibility and strong security needed by cloud computing providers and supercomputing centers.

The most advanced end-to-end networking platform ever built, NVIDIA Quantum-2 is a 400 Gbps InfiniBand networking platform that consists of the NVIDIA Quantum-2 switch, the ConnectX-7 network adapter, the BlueField-3 data processing unit (DPU) and all the software that supports the new architecture.

IBM Unveils New Generation of IBM Power Servers for Frictionless, Scalable Hybrid Cloud

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the new IBM Power E1080 server, the first in a new family of servers based on the new IBM Power10 processor, designed specifically for hybrid cloud environments. The IBM Power10-equipped E1080 server is engineered to be one of the most secured server platforms and is designed to help clients operate a secured, frictionless hybrid cloud experience across their entire IT infrastructure.

The IBM Power E1080 server is launching at a critical time for IT. As organizations around the world continue to adapt to unpredictable changes in consumer behaviors and needs, they need a platform that can deliver their applications and insights securely where and when they need them. The IBM Institute of Business Value's 2021 CEO Study found that, of the 3,000 CEOs surveyed, 56% emphasized the need to enhance operational agility and flexibility when asked what they'll most aggressively pursue over the next two to three years.

IBM Unveils On-Chip Accelerated Artificial Intelligence Processor

At the annual Hot Chips conference, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled details of the upcoming new IBM Telum Processor, designed to bring deep learning inference to enterprise workloads to help address fraud in real-time. Telum is IBM's first processor that contains on-chip acceleration for AI inferencing while a transaction is taking place. Three years in development, the breakthrough of this new on-chip hardware acceleration is designed to help customers achieve business insights at scale across banking, finance, trading, insurance applications and customer interactions. A Telum-based system is planned for the first half of 2022.

Today, businesses typically apply detection techniques to catch fraud after it occurs, a process that can be time consuming and compute-intensive due to the limitations of today's technology, particularly when fraud analysis and detection is conducted far away from mission critical transactions and data. Due to latency requirements, complex fraud detection often cannot be completed in real-time - meaning a bad actor could have already successfully purchased goods with a stolen credit card before the retailer is aware fraud has taken place.

Intel Wins US Government Project to Develop Leading-Edge Foundry Ecosystem

The U.S. Department of Defense, through the NSTXL consortium-based S2MARTS OTA, has awarded Intel an agreement to provide commercial foundry services in the first phase of its multi-phase Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes - Commercial (RAMP-C) program. The RAMP-C program was created to facilitate the use of a U.S.-based commercial semiconductor foundry ecosystem to fabricate the assured leading-edge custom and integrated circuits and commercial products required for critical Department of Defense systems. Intel Foundry Services, Intel's dedicated foundry business launched this year, will lead the work.

"One of the most profound lessons of the past year is the strategic importance of semiconductors, and the value to the United States of having a strong domestic semiconductor industry. Intel is the sole American company both designing and manufacturing logic semiconductors at the leading edge of technology. When we launched Intel Foundry Services earlier this year, we were excited to have the opportunity to make our capabilities available to a wider range of partners, including in the U.S. government, and it is great to see that potential being fulfilled through programs like RAMP-C." -Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO.

IDC Forecasts Companies to Spend Almost $342 Billion on AI Solutions in 2021

Worldwide revenues for the artificial intelligence (AI) market, including software, hardware, and services, is estimated to grow 15.2% year over year in 2021 to $341.8 billion, according to the latest release of the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Tracker. The market is forecast to accelerate further in 2022 with 18.8% growth and remain on track to break the $500 billion mark by 2024. Among the three technology categories, AI Software occupied 88% of the overall AI market. However, in terms of growth, AI Hardware is estimated to grow the fastest in the next several years. From 2023 onwards, AI Services is forecast to become the fastest growing category.

Within the AI Software category, AI Applications has the lion's share at nearly 50% of revenues. In terms of growth, AI Platforms is the strongest with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.2%. The slowest will be AI System Infrastructure Software with a five-year CAGR of 14.4% while accounting for roughly 35% of all AI Software revenues. Within the AI Applications market, AI ERM is expected to grow slightly stronger than AI CRM over the next five years. Meanwhile, AI Lifecycle Software is forecast to grow the fastest among the markets within AI Platforms.

NVIDIA and Global Partners Launch New HGX A100 Systems to Accelerate Industrial AI and HPC

NVIDIA today announced it is turbocharging the NVIDIA HGX AI supercomputing platform with new technologies that fuse AI with high performance computing, making supercomputing more useful to a growing number of industries.

To accelerate the new era of industrial AI and HPC, NVIDIA has added three key technologies to its HGX platform: the NVIDIA A100 80 GB PCIe GPU, NVIDIA NDR 400G InfiniBand networking, and NVIDIA Magnum IO GPUDirect Storage software. Together, they provide the extreme performance to enable industrial HPC innovation.

COLORFUL Launches the First GPU History Museum

Colorful Technology Company Limited, a professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards, all-in-one gaming and multimedia solutions, and high-performance storage, announces the launch of the GPU History Museum in partnership with NVIDIA. COLORFUL has recently relocated to Shenzhen New Generation Industrial Park. With that, COLORFUL is proud to announce the launch of the first GPU History Museum in China. The museum will showcase the beginnings of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), to the development and evolution of graphics cards up to the present generation.

Intel to Detail "Alder Lake" and "Sapphire Rapids" Microarchitectures at Hot Chips 33, This August

Intel will detail its 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" client and "Sapphire Rapids" server CPU microarchitectures at the Hot Chips 33 conclave, this August. In fact, Intel's presentation leads the CPU sessions on the opening day of August 23. "Alder Lake" will be the session opener, followed by AMD's presentation of the already-launched "Zen 3," and IBM's 5 GHz Z processor powering its next-gen mainframes. A talk on Xeon "Sapphire Rapids" follows this. Hot Chips is predominantly an engineering conclave, where highly technical sessions are presented by engineers from major semiconductor firms; and so the sessions on "Alder Lake" and "Sapphire Rapids" are expected to be very juicy.

"Alder Lake" is Intel's attempt at changing the PC ecosystem by introducing hybrid CPU cores, a concept introduced to the x86 machine architecture with "Lakefield." The processor will also support next-generation I/O, such as DDR5 memory. The "Sapphire Rapids" server CPU microarchitecture will see an increase in CPU core counts, next-gen I/O such as PCI-Express 5.0, CXL 1.1, DDR5 memory, and more.

IBM Announces World's First 2nm Chip Technology

IBM today unveiled a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process with the development of the world's first chip announced with 2 nanometer (nm) nanosheet technology. Semiconductors play critical roles in everything from computing, to appliances, to communication devices, transportation systems, and critical infrastructure.

Demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency continues to rise, especially in the era of hybrid cloud, AI, and the Internet of Things. IBM's new 2 nm chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing this growing demand. It is projected to achieve 45 percent higher performance, or 75 percent lower energy use, than today's most advanced 7 nm node chips.

Commodore 64 Modded To Mine Bitcoin

We saw the modified Nintendo Game Boy last month which could crank out Bitcoins at a blistering 0.8 hashes per second or ~125 trillion times slower than a modern Bitcoin ASIC miner. If you are searching for something a bit more modest than the Game Boy take a look at the Commodore 64 which has been modded to achieve a Bitcoin mining rate of 0.3 hashes per second. The Commodore 64 was released by IBM in 1982 featuring the MOS Technology 6510 processor clocked at 1.023 MHz and paired with 64 KB RAM and 20 KB ROM.

While the Commodore currently falls behind the Game Boy there is hope on the horizon with the creator of the program claiming a 10x performance improvement to over 3 hashes per second is possible by re-writing the code in machine language. The commodore 64 can be further upgraded with the SuperCPU upgrade which boosts mining speeds to over 60 hashes per second completely destroying the Game Boy but still falling just short of the latest ASIC miners at ~18,000,000,000,000 hashes per second. Obviously, this demonstration was not meant as a practical application but it is interesting to see how cryptocurrency mining can be implemented on older hardware and the amazing rate of technological advancement we have seen over the last 40 years.

IBM and Fujifilm Set a Record: 580 TB Data Capacity in a Single Cartridge

Magnetic tape storage is one of the oldest technologies used for storing data. The technology was invented way back in 1928, and it is almost 100 years old. By today's standards, the technology is considered to be slow, however, it offers something that no modern HDD or SDD offers. Today, in collaboration with Fujifilm, IBM has developed a Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) magnetic layer for LTO-8 tapes that are capable of storing an amazing 580 TeraBytes of data in a single cartridge. The new technology will enable the modern world to store ever-increasing data sizes we are now counting in zettabytes. To store all of that data, one would need a high-capacity storage device to store all of the "cold data" that doesn't need real-time processing and has information of value.

That is exactly why IBM and Fujifilm have been developing the LTO-8 tape drives that are capable of 580 TB of capacity in a single cartridge. The technology can achieve that capacity thanks to the Strontium Ferrite (SrFe), which is capable of 317Gb/in2 recording density. With 1255 meters of the tape, IBM and Fujifilm have been able to achieve this density metric.

TOP500 Expands Exaflops Capacity Amidst Low Turnover

The 56th edition of the TOP500 saw the Japanese Fugaku supercomputer solidify its number one status in a list that reflects a flattening performance growth curve. Although two new systems managed to make it into the top 10, the full list recorded the smallest number of new entries since the project began in 1993.

The entry level to the list moved up to 1.32 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, a small increase from 1.23 petaflops recorded in the June 2020 rankings. In a similar vein, the aggregate performance of all 500 systems grew from 2.22 exaflops in June to just 2.43 exaflops on the latest list. Likewise, average concurrency per system barely increased at all, growing from 145,363 cores six months ago to 145,465 cores in the current list.

NVIDIA Announces Mellanox InfiniBand for Exascale AI Supercomputing

NVIDIA today introduced the next generation of NVIDIA Mellanox 400G InfiniBand, giving AI developers and scientific researchers the fastest networking performance available to take on the world's most challenging problems.

As computing requirements continue to grow exponentially in areas such as drug discovery, climate research and genomics, NVIDIA Mellanox 400G InfiniBand is accelerating this work through a dramatic leap in performance offered on the world's only fully offloadable, in-network computing platform. The seventh generation of Mellanox InfiniBand provides ultra-low latency and doubles data throughput with NDR 400 Gb/s and adds new NVIDIA In-Network Computing engines to provide additional acceleration.

IBM Delivers Its Highest Quantum Volume to Date

Today, IBM has unveiled a new milestone on its quantum computing road map, achieving the company's highest Quantum Volume to date. Combining a series of new software and hardware techniques to improve overall performance, IBM has upgraded one of its newest 27-qubit client-deployed systems to achieve a Quantum Volume 64. The company has made a total of 28 quantum computers available over the last four years through IBM Quantum Experience.

In order to achieve a Quantum Advantage, the point where certain information processing tasks can be performed more efficiently or cost effectively on a quantum computer, versus a classical one, it will require improved quantum circuits, the building blocks of quantum applications. Quantum Volume measures the length and complexity of circuits - the higher the Quantum Volume, the higher the potential for exploring solutions to real world problems across industry, government, and research.

To achieve this milestone, the company focused on a new set of techniques and improvements that used knowledge of the hardware to optimally run the Quantum Volume circuits. These hardware-aware methods are extensible and will improve any quantum circuit run on any IBM Quantum system, resulting in improvements to the experiments and applications which users can explore. These techniques will be available in upcoming releases and improvements to the IBM Cloud software services and the cross-platform open source software development kit (SDK) Qiskit.

IBM Reveals Next-Generation IBM POWER10 Processor

IBM today revealed the next generation of its IBM POWER central processing unit (CPU) family: IBM POWER10. Designed to offer a platform to meet the unique needs of enterprise hybrid cloud computing, the IBM POWER10 processor uses a design focused on energy efficiency and performance in a 7 nm form factor with an expected improvement of up to 3x greater processor energy efficiency, workload capacity, and container density than the IBM POWER9 processor.

Designed over five years with hundreds of new and pending patents, the IBM POWER10 processor is an important evolution in IBM's roadmap for POWER. Systems taking advantage of IBM POWER10 are expected to be available in the second half of 2021. Some of the new processor innovations include:
IBM POWER10 Processor IBM POWER10 Processor

Fujifilm Points to 400 TB Tape Drives in the Future

Fujifilm, a Japanese company focused on photography, imaging, printing, and biotechnology, predicts that it can build a 400 terabyte cartridge using Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) technology. Thanks to a report by Blocks&Files, who was press-briefed by Fujifilm, we have some information on the future of tape storage. Tape storage uses Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology, which is an open standard developed by IBM to ensure all tape-based storage devices use the same format, instead of proprietary magnetic formats. We are currently at the LTO-8 version of this technology, which was released in 2017. Currently, LTO-8 can hold 12 TB in a single cartridge.

Fujifilm, one of the remaining makers of tape storage, predicts that it can pack 400 TB of tape storage in the LTO-13 era. Starting from LTO-12, Fujifilm plans to deploy Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) technology, which is different from the current Barium Ferrite (BaFe). The problem with BaFe is that each new LTO generation uses smaller and smaller particles and that leads to some problems where a tape bit value can't be read, and magnetic polarities would be disturbed if particles get too small. 400 TB tape drives using LTO-13 should be in circulation around 2032/33 according to a Blocks&Files prediction. Below you can check out the table provided by Blocks&Files that shows LTO generations and their abilities.

Hot Chips 2020 Program Announced

Today the Hot Chips program committee officially announced the August conference line-up, posted to hotchips.org. For this first-ever live-streamed Hot Chips Symposium, the program is better than ever!

In a session on deep learning training for data centers, we have a mix of talks from the internet giant Google showcasing their TPUv2 and TPUv3, and a talk from startup Cerebras on their 2nd gen wafer-scale AI solution, as well as ETH Zurich's 4096-core RISC-V based AI chip. And in deep learning inference, we have talks from several of China's biggest AI infrastructure companies: Baidu, Alibaba, and SenseTime. We also have some new startups that will showcase their interesting solutions—LightMatter talking about its optical computing solution, and TensTorrent giving a first-look at its new architecture for AI.
Hot Chips

Cisco Appoints AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa T. Su to Board of Directors

Cisco today announced the appointment of Dr. Lisa T. Su, AMD president and CEO, to its board of directors effective today. "Lisa is an accomplished business leader with deep expertise in the semiconductor industry," said Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO, Cisco. "We look forward to her contributions to Cisco's board and our business as we continue to develop ground breaking technologies, and a new internet for the 5G era that will help our customers innovate faster than ever before."

Dr. Su, 50, joined AMD in 2012 and has held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer since October 2014. She also serves on AMD's Board of Directors. Previously, Dr. Su served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networking and Multimedia at Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., and was responsible for global strategy, marketing and engineering for the company's embedded communications and applications processor business. Dr. Su joined Freescale in 2007 as Chief Technology Officer, where she led the company's technology roadmap and research and development efforts.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is a Force Multiplier for Road Warriors at CES 2020

The ThinkPad brand from Lenovo has always represented serious business on the move, right from its IBM origins. At CES 2020, the company unveiled what is possibly the best foldable PC design we've seen till date, the ThinkPad X1 Fold. The X1 Fold is a 13.3-inch tablet that folds perfectly along the middle to either a book-like orientation, or as a laptop, in which the top half becomes the display, and the bottom half your keyboard of whichever possible layout. If a touchscreen keyboard doesn't appeal to you, you can dock an accessory that has a physical keyboard and trackpad.

Under the hood of the X1 Fold is an Intel "Lakefield" Hybrid x86 SoC that combines high-performance and high-efficiency x86 cores and dynamically allots workload to them while power-gating on the fly (a la ARM big.LITTLE). When it comes out mid-2020 (likely a Computex 2020 launch), the ThinkPad X1 Fold will be driven by Windows 10X, a new operating system Microsoft is designing specifically for dual-screen mobile computing devices. The Flex 5G is Lenovo's first business notebook with an integrated 5G modem (in addition to Wi-Fi 6), so you can enjoy high-speed mobile Internet on the move. Lastly, we spotted the Lenovo Ducati notebook, a co-branded product of the company's MotoGP team sponsorship.

AMD Reports Third Quarter 2019 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the third quarter of 2019 of $1.80 billion, operating income of $186 million, net income of $120 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.11. On a non-GAAP(*) basis, operating income was $240 million, net income was $219 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.18.

"Our first full quarter of 7 nm Ryzen, Radeon and EPYC processor sales drove our highest quarterly revenue since 2005, our highest quarterly gross margin since 2012 and a significant increase in net income year-over-year," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "I am extremely pleased with our progress as we have the strongest product portfolio in our history, significant customer momentum and a leadership product roadmap for 2020 and beyond."

GlobalFoundries to Go Public in 2022

GlobalFoundries is planning to sell a minority stake in the company through an IPO (initial public offering) in 2022, company CEO Tom Caulfield told the Wall Street Journal. In February, it was reported that with the discontinuation of the 7 nm development and sale of certain facilities, the perception was made that GloFo was looking to be acquired by another semiconductor company. The same course of actions could have also served as prelude to taking the company public, and as it turns out, GloFo is heading toward the latter.

TimesUnion comments that the decision to discontinue 7 nm development and shedding some assets slowed down development of future technologies, but returned the company to profitability, so it could be put up for an IPO. Caulfield didn't comment on what is the size of the stake sale, but the source comments it could be aimed at alleviating the strain on GloFo's original investors, the Abu Dhabi government, which has invested over $21 billion in the company over the past 10 years. GlobalFoundries was formed as AMD spun off its semiconductor business in 2009, with seed capital from the Abu Dhabi government. Over the decade, the company built fabs in New York state, and acquired fabs across Vermont, and Singapore, along with tech acquisition from IBM.

AMD Could Release Next Generation EPYC CPUs with Four-Way SMT

AMD has completed design phase of its "Zen 3" architecture and rumors are already appearing about its details. This time, Hardwareluxx has reported that AMD could bake a four-way simultaneous multithreading technology in its Zen 3 core to enable more performance and boost parallel processing power of its data center CPUs. Expected to arrive sometime in 2020, Zen 3 server CPUs, codenamed "MILAN", are expected to bring many architectural improvements and make use of TSMC's 7nm+ Extreme Ultra Violet lithography that brings as much as 20% increase in transistor density.

Perhaps the biggest change we could see is the addition of four-way SMT that should allow a CPU to have four virtual threads per core that will improve parallel processing power and enable data center users to run more virtual machines than ever before. Four-way SMT will theoretically boost performance by dividing micro-ops into four smaller groups so that each thread could execute part of the operation, thus making the execution time much shorter. This being only one application of four-way SMT, we can expect AMD to leverage this feature in a way that is most practical and brings the best performance possible.
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