Interview: Brent Gorda on his New Role as Head of ARM HPC

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Former Whamcloud CEO Brent Gorda has a new role as Senior Director for the HPC business at Arm. We caught up with Brent to learn more about the company’s plans to grow their business in the Datacenter, HPC space, and on to Exascale.

insideHPC: Can you describe your new role at Arm?

Brent Gorda: As you may know, Arm is in the Intellectual Property (IP) business – designing processors used in all sorts of devices. Arm doesn’t build physical processors, that is handled by partners such as Cavium (now Marvell), Fujitsu, and others across the HPC market. In my new role as the senior director for the HPC business, I’m responsible for continuing to help the community recognize the abilities of our partners’ products, building momentum for solutions in market, and helping define the requirements for Arm-supplied IP.

Personally I‘m excited that there are a variety of architectures available for HPC again.

insideHPC: At a company level, what does Arm want to achieve in the High Performance Computing marketplace?

Brent Gorda: The team at Arm recognizes that the HPC market is special. Because our community is so focused on application performance, there are existing opportunities to re-examine architectural choices. Arm partners ship over 20 billion cores a year(!) and our company is well-known for being the core IP in many designs at the edge. The trend toward the datacenter with Arm is clear, it’s an opportunity for the HPC market to take advantage of the considerable boost in performance via SVE and the Arm roadmap.

insideHPC: Are there Arm chips today that are suitable for HPC? If not, when? Oh, and could I buy one today and take delivery?

Brent Gorda: Yes, there are solutions available now. Several sites in Europe have systems, as do many labs and businesses in the US. The recent HPE/Sandia announcement of the Astra supercomputer is one to watch here in the US. Bristol University and Cray have teamed up on Isambard in the UK and there are several more systems associated with the Catalyst consortium. There are also recently announced products getting significant attention (Fujitsu Post K, etc.) and some more yet to be announced. In all, it is a very exciting time for Arm.

insideHPC: Will there be an Arm booth at SC18 in Dallas?

Brent Gorda: Yes there is a booth at SC18. Also, you will also find Arm designs, prototypes, and production systems in partner booths across the show floor. There is an ARM User Group event as well as technical papers in various tech sessions. It will be an exciting show this year!

insideHPC: What is the outlook for Arm in HPC?

Brent Gorda: We are at the start of a major shift in architecture both for HPC and the super-scalers. Arm has had a focus on low energy, which is a topic of greater importance at scale these days. Add in a business model where partners can base a design off the core-IP, and you might expect interesting new designs. Already you have the Marvel/Cavium ThunderX2 in the market and the highly anticipated Fujitsu A64FX coming soon.

Brent Gorda leads the HPC business at Arm out of San Jose. Prior to this recent role, he spent a year consulting (HPC/Quantum/AI) and advising startup CEO’s in Silicon Valley (@ CEO Quest). Earlier in his career, he founded Whamcloud, which he sold to Intel and served as the General Manager for Intel’s High Performance Data Division. Brent has also served on many advisory boards (SCxy, Cray Research, Westera) and founded the Student Cluster Competition, a world-wide event affecting the careers of thousands of undergraduates each year.

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  1. Vangel Bojaxhi says

    Congratulations Brent, I like your comment “it is a very exciting time for Arm”, and wish you have a successful impact as ever!