NVIDIA have just announced that the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is developing a new hybrid supercomputer that, for the first time, uses energy-efficient, low-power NVIDIA Tegra ARM VCPUs, together with high-performance NVIDIA CUDA GPUs. BSC is in the planning stages and hopes to roll out the new ARM-based supercomputer, with a near-term goal of demonstrating two to five times improvement in energy efficiency compared with today's most efficient systems.
BSC's ultimate research goal is to establish exascale-level performance while using 15 to 30 times less power than current supercomputer architectures. This so-called EU Mont-Blanc Project will explore next-generation HPC architectures and develop a portfolio of exascale applications that run efficiently on these kinds of energy-efficient, embedded mobile technologies.
As ARM gains more support around the world with ARM-based initiatives, NVIDIA have also announced plans to develop a new hardware and software development kit. NVIDIA's new kit, with hardware developed by SECO, will sport a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 ARM CPU accelerated by a discrete NVIDIA GPU.
Alex Ramirez, leader of the Mont-Blanc Project says:
In most current systems, CPUs alone consume the lion's share of the energy, often 40 percent or more. By comparison, the Mont-Blanc architecture will rely on energy-efficient compute accelerators and ARM processors used in embedded and mobile devices to achieve a four- to 10-times increase in energy-efficiency by 2014.
This kit is expected in the first half of 2012, and will be supported by the NVIDIA CUDA parallel programming toolkit.