NVIDIA GPUs Deliver a Shot in the ARM for HPC Industry

by Ian Buck

Among the most interesting announcements at this week’s ISC’14 is the emergence of a new class of system – one that marries the many advantages of ARM processors with the massively parallel processing power of NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators.

This is great news for the industry.

Initially designed for micro-servers and web servers, ARM64 server processors are highly energy efficient, cost effective and based on a flexible architecture.  Many in the industry view them as opening the door to new waves of innovation in high performance computing (HPC).

And GPU accelerators make that possible.

On their own, ARM processors lack the muscle to run HPC workloads. But add the benefits of ARM to the compute power of GPU accelerators, and the systems become an exciting new option for HPC.


That’s why server vendors like Cirrascale, E4, and Eurotech have come to NVIDIA to create new GPU-accelerated systems for HPC with Applied Micro ARM64 CPUs. Other ARM64 CPU providers are queuing up their own products. Broadcom is working on its Vulcan ARM chips. Cavium has big plans for its new ThunderX ARM Processors.

Denver To Extend Range of ARM Architecture

NVIDIA is also innovating with ARM. Our Project Denver architecture is initially focused on the mobile market, and our Tegra processors are already enabling unique computing solutions for auto infotainment systems, smart phones, tablets, and embedded applications.

In the future, we will continue building high- performance ARM processors that extend the range of the ARM architecture in new and innovative ways.

New ARMs Race?

Does this mean every new supercomputer will be based on ARM?

Probably not.  ARM provides an exciting new option to round out NVIDIA’s comprehensive accelerated computing platform – which includes servers, software, development tools, processors, and related technologies.

But the industry will continue to rely on x86 processors and alternative architectures like POWER, depending on the task at hand.  As a result of these new ARM offerings, HPC pros now have more options than ever before to choose the best solution that meets their diverse needs.