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Forschungszentrum Jülich Joins the OpenPOWER Foundation

In summer 2013, the companies IBM, NVIDIA, Mellanox, Google, and the Taiwanese manufacturer of computer motherboards, TYAN, announced the establishment of the OpenPOWER Foundation. Meanwhile other companies like Samsung have also joined. Members of the foundation plan to build advanced server, networking, storage and acceleration technology. While aiming at a broader market, the technology provided by several members of the OpenPOWER Foundation is a key for new supercomputing architectures. Broadening the scope of supercomputing solutions available in the future and opening new paths towards power-efficient exascale computing were the main reasons for Forschungszentrum Jülich joining the OpenPOWER Foundation in March.

In 2010 and 2012, JSC established long-term collaborations with IBM and NVIDIA, and created the exascale labs Exascale Innovation Centre (EIC) and NVIDIA Application Lab at Jülich. As part of the OpenPOWER initiative, both labs have started to work jointly on an evaluation of architectures based on the next generation POWER8 processors, which will become available in the next few months, and NVIDIA's next generation high-end GPUs. In the framework of the POWER8 Early Shipment Programme, a first test system will be installed at JSC in the near future.

GPUs provide large amounts of computational performance through extreme parallelism at moderate clock speeds and thus small power envelope. Therefore, many of the largest supercomputers currently in operation are based on such massively parallel computing devices as GPUs or Xeon Phi. As not all applications can leverage this high level of concurrency and require more memory capacity than typical GPUs can offer, these need to be combined with high-end processing cores. Tighter integration with POWER processors thus opens up new opportunities for GPU-based high-performance computing. JSC expects to contribute to the supercomputing-oriented roadmap within the OpenPOWER Foundation.
(Contact: Prof. Dr. Dirk Pleiter,