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How Intel FPGAs Power Azure Deep Learning

Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich recently disclosed major advances in Microsoft’s hyperscale deployment of Intel field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These advances have resulted in the industry’s fastest public cloud network, and new technology for acceleration of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) that replicate “thinking” in a manner that’s conceptually similar to that of the human brain.

Accelerating the Alibaba Cloud with Intel Arria 10 FPGAs

The Alibaba Cloud has announced a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA acceleration service with the goal of enabling customers to have virtual access to powerful compute resources in the cloud to help them manage business, scientific and enterprise data application workloads more effectively. “This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity.”

Call for Papers: HPEC 2017 in Waltham

The IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference (HPEC 2017) has issued its Call for Papers. The conference takes place September 12-14 in Waltham, MA. “HPEC is the largest computing conference in New England and is the premier conference in the world on the convergence of High Performance and Embedded Computing. We are passionate about performance. Our community is interested in computing hardware, software, systems and applications where performance matters. We welcome experts and people who are new to the field.”

Intel FPGAs Break Record for Deep Learning Facial Recognition

Today Intel announced record results on a new benchmark in deep learning and convolutional neural networks (CNN). ZTE’s engineers used Intel’s midrange Arria 10 FPGA for a cloud inferencing application using a CNN algorithm. “ZTE has achieved a new record – beyond a thousand images per second in facial recognition – with what is known as “theoretical high accuracy” achieved for their custom topology. Intel’s Arria 10 FPGA accelerated the raw design performance more than 10 times while maintaining the accuracy.”

Maxeler Dataflow Engine Speeds Compliance Capture and Analytics for Financial Institutions

“As financial institutions acknowledge the importance of data as an asset and as they continue to deploy sophisticated analytics to realize the benefit of that asset, we will begin to see some achieve competitive advantages in this fast-paced marketplace. Of course, these organizations also face continued regulatory scrutiny and disruptive changes to technology that can pose challenges,” said Michael Hay, Vice President and Chief Engineer at Hitachi Data Systems. “Together with our partner Maxeler Technologies, Hitachi Data Systems can help our customers address business demands, stay compliant and transform data into information, insight and opportunities to win.”

AWS Adds FPGAs to its Public Cloud

Amazon Web Services chief evangelist Jeff Barr announced in a recent blog post that the company was adding Xilinx FPGAs to its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). The addition of this new hardware will allow users to create accelerated FPGA applications, but AWS will also let users sell these applications on the AWS Marketplace. “We are giving you the ability to design your own logic, simulate and verify it using cloud-based tools, and then get it to market in a matter of days,” said Barr.

Post SC16: Top 10 Things in Retrospect

In this special guest feature, Kim McMahon shares her perspectives on SC16. ““Faster” is the game in HPC. You can achieve speed with GPUs, FPGAs, or faster CPUs. GPUs have been around a while – you go to NVIDIA and that’s where your GPUs are. FPGAs have also been around a while, but recent market actions are now making them a more viable option: Intel’s acquisition of Altera, the maturation of the OpenCL toolchain, Microsoft’s adoption and use of Bing in their data center, AWS adding FPGAs to their cloud offerings.”

Radio Free HPC Reviews the SC16 Student Cluster Competition Configurations & Results

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team reviews the results from SC16 Student Cluster Competition. “This year, the advent of clusters with the new Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs made a huge impact, nearly tripling the Linpack record for the competition. For the first-time ever, the team that won top honors also won the award for achieving highest performance for the Linpack benchmark application. The team “SwanGeese” is from the University of Science and Technology of China. In traditional Chinese culture, the rare Swan Goose stands for teamwork, perseverance and bravery.”

FPGA Myths

As data center sprawl is now understood to be expensive and may not deliver performance increases for all types of applications, new technologies are coming to the rescue. A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing – hence “field-programmable”. While the use of GPUs and HPC accelerators are generally understood today, there are a number of misconceptions about FPGAs that need to be understood.

Nimbix & Xilinx Accelerate FPGA-Based Workloads in the Cloud

Today Nimbix announced the immediate availability of the Xilinx SDAccel development environment for on-demand development, testing, and deployment of FPGA-accelerated workflows in the Nimbix Cloud, powered by JARVICE. The SDAccel development environment combines the industry’s first architecturally optimizing compiler supporting any combination of OpenCL, C, and C++ kernels, along with libraries, development boards and industry standard development and run‐time experience for FPGAs.