Nvidia's Tegra Chips Will Power World's First ARM-based CPU/GPU Hybrid Supercomputer

Paul Lilly

Nvidia's Tegra ARM CPUs are hitching a ride to Spain where the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is a developing a new hybrid supercomputer that, for the first time, will combine quad-core Tegra CPUs with high performance Nvidia CUDA GPUs, Nvidia announced. It will be the first large scale system based on this technology, and BSC expects to demonstrate two to five times improvement in energy efficiency compared with today's most efficient systems.

The long-term goal of the so-called EU Mont-Blanc Project is to deliver exascale-level performance while using 15 to 30 times less power than current supercomputer architectures.

"In most current systems, CPUs alone consume the lion's share of the energy, often 40 percent or more," said Alex Ramirez , leader of the Mont-Blanc Project. "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 is precisely where the ARM chips come into play.

"ARM’s superior energy efficiency can be traced back to the origins of the ARM architecture. While ARM was originally designed for extremely small and low power embedded devices, Intel and AMD x86 CPUs were always trying to make the Windows operating system run faster with little consideration for power consumption," Nvidia's Sumit Gupta said in a blog post .

Image Credit: Nvidia

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