Nvidia's Grace CPU Superchip to Power Two Supercomputers, Up to Ten 'AI ExaFlops'

Nvidia’s Grace CPU Superchip to Power Two Supercomputers, Up to Ten ‘AI ExaFlops’

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(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia’s expansion into designing and producing Arm-based CPUs was quite the shocking revelation when the company announced it last year, and the addition of the Hopper GPUs into the design upped the ante. Even though Nvidia has yet to ship the silicon, those efforts continue to pay off as the company announced that its Grace CPU Superchip and Grace Hopper Superchips would power two future supercomputers. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory will deploy the flagship Grace-only Venado supercomputer that will deliver up to ten ‘AI ExaFlops’ of performance.

The Swiss National Computing Center’s existing 20 AI ExaFlops Alps supercomputer (opens in new tab) will also deploy Grace CPU Superchips in HPE Cray EX cabinets. This supercomputer is already operational as a general-purpose machine for the research community.

There is a caveat, though: ‘AI ExaFlops’ consist of lower-precision math (FP32 or lower, like INT8) than we see with the official rankings that use FP64, but we have yet to receive a confirmation on the data type used for these projections. As such, it is unclear if Venado will deliver an ExaFlop of performance as measured with FP64, as we see with Frontier, the first true Exascale-class supercomputer. Notably, Frontier has achieved a 6.88 HPL-AI ExaFlops result, and it will be interesting to see if the Nvidia-powered systems can match or exceed that benchmark.

Nvidia’s Grace supercomputer announcements come hot on the heels of the company’s recent announcement that it has provided reference CGX, OVX, and HGX system designs that will ship from six major OEMs in the first half of 2023, springboarding the company into the broader AI server market.  

Grace CPU

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) aren’t sharing many details about Venado yet, but we do know that it will come with a mixture of the dual-CPU 144-core Grace CPU Superchips and the single CPU + Hopper GPU combo that comes in the form of the Grace Hopper Superchip. This will be the first US-based Grace supercomputer.

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