ARM’s journey of innovation and collaboration within the HPC community has come quite a way from our 2011 collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). The work with BSC on the Mont-Blanc project provided an opportunity for the ARM ecosystem to explore the benefits of heterogeneous computing within mobile power envelopes enabled by ARM-based SoCs. More importantly, Mont-Blanc showcased the value of the ARM architecture as a foundation for solving the world’s most challenging and complex compute problems. 

The latest milestone in our HPC journey came this week at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt. Fujitsu, a global leader in HPC, announced Japan’s next-generation flagship supercomputer at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, will be powered by SoCs based on the ARMv8-A architecture. The “Post-K” supercomputer is the successor to the “K-supercomputer” which is currently ranked No. 5 in the Top 500 supercomputing rankings.

Today, the K-computer today is used to solve critical compute problems in fields ranging from earthquake/tsunami research to drug discovery. The K-computer has taken complex problems like a human heart simulation that previously took 2 years and delivered results in 1 day. The Post-K computer is being developed to address similar challenges.

In order to meet the demanding compute requirements for Post-K, an integrated approach of hardware and software design is fundamental. ARM has been collaborating with Fujitsu and others in the HPC space to help solve these challenges. More specifics on the next-generation HPC architecture from ARM will be shared at the Hot Chips conference in August at the “ARMv8-A Next Generation Vector Architecture for HPC” talk by Nigel Stephens.

The impact the ARM Ecosystem can have on innovative energy-efficient, heterogeneous architectures required to solve the next generation of HPC challenges will be far reaching. Already the ARM partnership is starting to make an impact. In addition to the work Fujitsu is doing, Applied Micro’s X-Gene processor was recently selected by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program in the European Union.

The future of the HPC Community is already looking forward to innovating on the ARM architecture as well. At ISC this week, two student teams are using platforms powered by Cavium Thunder-X processors based on the ARMv8-A architecture to compete in the student cluster competition. The two teams are Boston Green (representing MIT, Boston University and Northeastern University) and UPC (Universitat Polytechnica de Catalunya).

What you have seen and heard this week at ISC is just another early step on ARM’s HPC journey. There is still much more innovation to come. We are just getting started!